Proofminder awarded as most innovative AgTech Startup

Artificial intelligence hunts ragweed or why Proofminder was awarded as a most innovative AgTech startup

Artificial intelligence hunts ragweed or why Proofminder was awarded as the most innovative AgTech startup

Budapest, 07/12/2021 - The Agtech Summit and demo-day at the end of November closed the 2021 innovation programme of the National Chamber of Agriculture. The main event of the day was the presentation of the startups participating in the program, in particular, the selection of the most innovative startup, which this year was awarded to Proofminder, the platform that helps to recognize crops and weeds with artificial intelligence. The company tested its solution in a three-month project with Corteva Agriscience, which allows for targeted ragweed eradication on thousands of hectares by analyzing drone footage.

The problem of weeding affects all plants and is causing serious damage to agricultural production. Ragweed is also extremely allergenic, with 77 million people projected to be affected in Europe by 2050. This is one of the great challenges facing the agroindustry and the food supply chain. Eradicating ragweed in the environment of other dicotyledonous plants, especially sunflowers, is a particular challenge. Although a new herbicide is now available thanks to Corteva’s new innovation, which allows effective control of ragweed in sunflower fields, accurate spatial identification of ragweed infection by air has not yet been resolved. Proofminder made a breakthrough in this area. 

The platform allows you to determine the economically and environmentally ideal approach by identifying ragweed and other weeds. The results can be evaluated by specialists in a digital environment on a map and with the help of the system, they can make an accurate application plan for treatment with either a precision field sprayer or a drone. 

“Special drone footage from the area is loaded into Proofminder’s system, which we’ve trained to detect and distinguish between useful plants and harmful weeds” explained Norbert Havas, the company’s chief technology officer. “By identifying areas covered with ragweed, it calculates the degree of infection. During the project, we found that ragweed covered 71.45% of the area, which without intervention causes significant damage to the crop.” – he explained, breaking down the essence of the winning project.  

 

The recognition of weeds provides an opportunity to estimate the weed cover of the areas and to determine the weed composition so that the same crop averages can be achieved with more environmentally friendly protection. 

 “We need to supply the growing population in ever-shrinking production areas. A key issue is to ensure that all crops receive maximum care with the least environmental impact for efficient and sustainable farming. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we now have the opportunity to set up a virtual farmer next to each sunflower.”   –  the motivation speech of the program manager of the National Chamber of Agriculture.  

“On the one hand, the incubation program provided a unique opportunity for testing and, on the other hand, it showed us the direction in which we need to continue to develop over the next year and a half. ” – said Norbert Havas, adding “Our team is now looking for an investor to implement the product development plans and to introduce our solution to the wider Hungarian and international markets, and to expand the team to achieve these goals.” 

About Proofminder

The company was founded at the beginning of 2021 by a team of three people with IT, business development and enterprise experience. The company has prepared its marketable product via bootstrapping without investor help. The first large corporate customers and partners have already started to use it in the 2021 agricultural season. The team is now looking for an investor and will use the capital to further develop their product and to carry out intensive go-to-market activities. 

 About NAK TechLab 

NAK TechLab is the incubation program of the National Chamber of Agriculture, which aims to find and accelerate the growth of the most innovative solutions of the Hungarian agricultural sector and food industry, thus making industry and the market more competitive, sustainable and environmentally conscious. 

About Corteva Agriscience 

Corteva Agriscience™ is a publicly listed, global, purely agricultural company that offers producers around the world one of the most complete portfolios in the industry – including a balanced and varied combination of seed, crop protection and digital solutions – that focus on maximizing productivity to increase yield and profitability. Its best-known product brands in agriculture, as well as industry-leading product and technology research, define Corteva’s role in stimulating growth, so the company is committed to working with stakeholders throughout the food chain system and will do everything it can to improve the quality of life of producers and consumers, maintaining this process for generations to come. 

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Ragweed detection map

Why Proofminder

Why we’ve created Proofminder and why we believe it will change the Agroindustry

If not now, when?

Each year, plant diseases cost the global economy around $220 billion and invasive insects around US$70 billion. Yield losses in crops due to weeds depend on several factors such as weed emergence time, weed density, type of weeds, and crops, etc. Left uncontrolled, weeds can result in 100% yield loss. Add here other Agroindustry problems such as labor shortage and lack of experts, fertilizer overdosing leading to environmental problems and wasted budgets, and a high level of uncertainty in harvest forecasting due to climate change and soil degradation, and you will see the many ways the industry could improve.

Agribusinesses are losing a significant part of their revenue while the world is pressing them to build a reliable and self-sufficient food-production system. Working for quite a while with agribusinesses and data we deeply understand how hard it is to make the right decisions, even when you have tons of information – the insights on the data are not always actionable; impact is not measurable and cannot be deployed at scale.   

To address these challenges, growers are now integrating precision agriculture solutions into their processes (e.g., to forecast yielderadicate weeds, and monitor crop health). But mainstream precision agriculture concentrates on fields and zoning, mainly based on satellite imagery and cannot address many agriculture challenges. As an example, current solutions for precision farming like digital scouting or NDVI provide inefficient or lowquality data, that are hard to interpret or not sufficient to make wise agronomic decisions.   

We are changing the game

Proofminder brings precision agriculture to the next level by enabling growers to deploy Agro-specific AI models into their processes with the click of a button. The quick innovation cycle allows the creation of new use cases in days, e.g. hyper-precise plant stand count and distancing, weed detection, missed tassel identification in hybrid seed production, wildlife damage and more. Proofminder makes it possible to seamlessly implement complex AI-powered precision agriculture solutions into a farm or food production company of any size. Our independent, powerful, affordable ecosystem aims to radically increase the effectiveness of individuals, products, and organizations across the Agroindustry. 

Proofminder extracts insights from drone images by AI to provide growers with valuable information about every cm2 of field across the season. 

We make it dramatically easy to start using AI without any technical knowledge, collaborate with other market players, exchange data, get actionable insights from the visual data and transform them into valuable determining actions. 

Who Can Benefit From It?

Growers. Field crop and seed producers, vegetable and root growers, tree and orchard farm managers now can implement our Agro-specific AI models into their processes with the click of a button. Proofminder repository is holding AI solutions that are solving specific challenges for growers that require leaf-level imaging data and AI to work: e.g., weed detection at scale, missed tassel identification in hybrid corn production, wildlife damage and more. Some AI Solutions are available to growers right away to show the real impact, and we are open to new ideas and developing new use cases each week, thanks to our quick innovation cycle. Growers can deploy those AI models to their production processes without any technical knowledge. The output of the AI models shows on an interactive map in a friendly user interface.  

Drone service providers & Agro equipment manufacturers. Our platform helps with core pain points – it helps to find new clients and extend the services, increase the product capabilities and its life-cycle and show the real value and necessity of having a drone or other Agro equipment on the farm these days. For instance, we are partnering with drone service providers and have a partnership program for individual drone pilots and companies.

We are providing a scalable cloud solution to handle the required data volume.

Other Agroindustry players. We make it easy and seamless to gather precise agriculture data on the platform, process, share and realize value on it in a bi-directional fashion between growers and agroindustry players without lock-in to any large player’s ecosystem. The ability to collaborate around this data could be useful for Agri-Insurance or financial organizations, government needs and more.  

What’s next?

Our ecosystem is growing fast, new industry players, innovators, drone service providers and growers from all over the globe join our platform every day to increase revenue, scale their expertise and get the most ROI on every hectare.   

Contact us to learn more and let’s drive positive changes in the Agroindustry together.

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