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Smart-harvest market forecasted

The smart-harvest market is projected to reach more than $15.5 billion by 2023, according to MarketsandMarkets. The market is driven by factors such as scarcity of labor and efficiency benefits offered by smart-harvest systems, according to the market analyst.

Harvesting requires a great amount of bending and lifting through manual labor. The labor shortage affects overall yield output. Manufacturers have introduced autonomous harvesters that harvest fruits and vegetables with little or no human intervention.

The smart-harvest market in Europe is projected to witness significant growth due to the prospect of increasing production, labor shortage, development of smart technologies and their adoption in agriculture. Development of smart-harvest technologies is being encouraged. It's driven by public and private programs to bring about the commercialization of technologies. Projects such as the Clever Robots for Crops, Sweet Pepper Harvesting Robot, and the Handsfree Hectare project highlight industry efforts to develop and commercialize smart-harvest systems in the region.

Some of the key players in the U.S. market are Deere and Company, Harvest Automation, Root AI, Abundant Robotics and Energid Technologies Corp. Visit MarketsandMarkets.com for more information.

USDA invests in infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $121 million in infrastructure to combat climate change in rural areas. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in vulnerable communities.

The USDA is making investments through three programs designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. 

  • Community Facilities Disaster Grants
  • Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants
  • Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants

The investments are intended to help state- and local-government entities, nonprofits and federally recognized Tribes. The funding may be used to construct, renovate or purchase and install equipment for rural community facilities. The funding also is intended to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable-energy systems as well as make energy efficiency improvements. Visit rd.usda.gov for more information.

Herbicide-tolerance, herbicide pact formed

Corteva Agriscience and BASF Agricultural Solutions recently agreed to develop future herbicide-tolerant soybeans and complementing herbicides. The collaboration aims to bring alternatives to manage resistant and tough-to-control weeds through trait stacks and long-lasting modes of action. Farmers are expected to receive more weed-management options and germplasm choices from both BASF and Corteva seed brands.

BASF will license its protoporphyrinogen-oxidase gene for herbicide tolerance to Corteva to develop a new herbicide-tolerant trait stack. The stack will feature tolerance to BASF’s Liberty, Corteva’s Enlist herbicides and various glyphosate-herbicide solutions. It also will feature BASF’s existing and pipeline protoporphyrinogen-oxidase inhibiting herbicides.

The stack of four herbicide-tolerant traits is expected to be available in all Corteva seed brands. Corteva has licensed the stack for use in BASF seed brands.

Corteva anticipates licensing the new trait stack to independent seed companies in North America. Both companies plan to offer exclusive and proprietary germplasm options with the stack.

The companies expect to commercialize the products in the early 2030s, pending regulatory reviews and completion of field testing.

Visit agriculture.basf.us and corteva.com for more information.

On-seed nitrogen introduced

Pivot Bio recently introduced on-seed application of microbial nitrogen for crops such as corn, sorghum and spring wheat. “Proven 40 On-Seed” and “Return On-Seed” have been developed to enhance a crop’s potential all season long by providing a nitrogen source with no loss to leaching, denitrification or volatilization. Microbes adhere to the root of the plant without any waste, Pivot Bio states.

The company measured and verified product performance across more than 2,100 on-farm fields, encompassing 1.3 million acres. Side-by-side comparisons show that plants where its microbes were used have 14 percent more nitrogen in the plant and 12 percent more plant biomass compared to untreated plants, the company stated. Visit pivotbio.com for more information.

Canada boosts swine fever-prevention funds

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is investing more than $45 million to enhance efforts to prevent African swine fever from entering Canada and to prepare for a potential outbreak.

The government is investing as much as $23.4 million to support the pork industry’s prevention and mitigation efforts. The funding is intended to support biosecurity assessments, coordination for wild-pig management, retrofitting of existing abattoirs, sector analysis and African swine fever-related research.

In addition as much as $19.8 million will be invested in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s prevention and preparedness efforts. The funding is intended to support work such as further enhancing laboratory capacity, establish zoning arrangements with additional trading partners, and contributing to international efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

Canada has never had a case of African swine fever, but the disease continues to spread in several regions around the world, the agency stated. A single case of the disease in Canada would result in the closure of Canada’s borders to pork exports, which accounts for 70 percent of Canadian pork production, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada stated. Visit agriculture.canada.ca for more information.

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