Technological advancements in the agriculture sector meet the growing demand for farm automation, digitalization, and sustainability. Emerging agriculture trends mark a shift towards smart farming and efficient utilization of time and resources while reducing crop losses. Smart farming is an upcoming concept that deploys technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), computer vision, and artificial intelligence (AI) for farming. Robots and drones are accelerating farm automation by replacing manual farm operations such as picking fruits, killing weeds, or water spraying. Imagery from drones and satellites, coupled with Global Positioning System (GPS), provides a high-resolution and location-specific view of the field. Further, AgriTech startups develop IoT devices, powered by sensor technology, that collect real-time field data. This allows farmers to make data-driven decisions. In addition, the widespread adoption of precision agriculture and indoor farming in recent years fuels IoT growth in farming. Taken together, these AgriTech trends generate disruptive and sustainable changes in agricultural practices. The focus is to not only improve the overall quality and quantity of crops and enhance livestock management but also to reach the ultimate goal of a sustainable future.
Innovation Map outlines the Top 10 Agriculture Trends & 20 Promising Startups
For this in-depth research on the Top AgriTech Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 5 290 global startups and scaleups. The result of this research is data-driven innovation intelligence that improves strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies & startups in the agricultural industry. These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2 500 000+ startups & scaleups globally. As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant startups, emerging technologies & future industry trends quickly & exhaustively.
In the Innovation Map below, you get an overview of the Top 10 Agriculture Trends, Technologies & Innovations that impact companies worldwide. Moreover, the AgriTech Innovation Map reveals 20 hand-picked startups, all working on emerging technologies that advance their field.
Tree Map reveals the Impact of the Top 10 Agriculture Trends
Based on the AgriTech Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the Top 10 AgriTech Trends in 2023. Startups and scaleups work on technological solutions to benefit farmers by automating farm operations and improving productivity. The most prevalent trend is the Internet of things (IoT), which enables farmers to better monitor the needs of individual crops and animals. Automation in irrigation, farm machinery, and harvesting further ease farm operations while minimizing losses. Additionally, drones save time spent on crop scouting. Advancements in AI and machine learning (ML) also boost prediction accuracy and provide insights into weather events, crop classification, and diseases of plants and animals. Precision agriculture is another major trend observed across the industry. Finally, startups also develop sustainable agriculture solutions and thus advance new growing techniques like hydroponics and aquaponics.
Global Startup Heat Map covers 5 290 AgriTech Startups & Scaleups
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 5 290 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals that South Asia forms the biggest cluster for AgriTech, followed by Western Europe & the USA.
Below, you get to meet 20 out of these 5 290 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These 20 startups are hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Top 10 Agriculture Trends for 2023
1. Internet of Things
Monitoring of the crop field in conventional farming requires intensive labor, physical equipment, time, and effort. IoT provides an alternative to these traditional methods. An IoT device contains one or more sensors that collect data and provide accurate information via mobile applications or other means in real-time. These sensors perform countless activities such as soil temperature and humidity sensing, plant and livestock tracking, and more. IoT also facilitates remote monitoring of farms, providing greater convenience to farmers. Further, new irrigation systems utilize IoT sensors to automate water delivery to crops. These constitute evapotranspiration sensors, on-site soil moisture sensors, and rain sensors, among others. Startups are developing innovative sensor solutions that combine IoT technology with drones, robots, and computer imaging to increase the agility, accuracy, and precision of farming processes. These send on-time alerts and improve the response time for areas that need attention.
Agrila develops an IoT-based Sensor Station
Bulgarian startup Agrila creates a modular IoT- based sensor station to facilitate sensing of vital parameters like soil moisture & temperature, wind speed & direction, rain, humidity, solar irradiation, and much more. The station is solar-powered and provides real-time alerts via mobile or web applications. Moreover, the solution also offers detailed charts, reports, and analyses of sensor data, enabling farmers to gather insights in an economic and efficient way.
Farmer’s Hive provides Remote Monitoring Sensors
Farmer’s Hive is a Canadian startup that addresses the need for instant remote monitoring of farm equipment, crops, and microclimates. The startup develops sensors based on IoT technology for greenhouses, family farms, and fruit growers. They provide cloud services that directly store the data and detailed metrics measured by these sensors. Further, they facilitate remote monitoring in a wireless ecosystem with the help of connectivity technologies like 4G LTE-M, Wi-Fi, or LoRaWAN networks. This allows farmers to get insights into their farm data and identify problem areas in real time.
2. Agricultural Robotics
Shortage of labor is a critical problem farmers face, and this is amplified in the case of large field operations. So, startups are manufacturing agricultural robots to assist farmers in fruit-picking, harvesting, planting, transplanting, spraying, seeding, and weeding. Farmers are increasingly relying on robots to automate repetitive tasks in the field. They deploy smart agricultural machines, such as autonomous and semi-autonomous tractors for harvesting. Tractors also come with auto-steer technology for easier navigation across the field. Moreover, robots are used in automated systems for livestock management as well. This includes automated weighing scales, incubators, milking machines, and auto feeders. Robots allow farmers to focus more on improving overall productivity, without having to worry about slow farm processes. They also prevent human-induced errors and provide convenience through automation.
Advanced.Farm offers Robotic Harvesting
US-based startup Advanced.Farm is leveraging robotics technology to develop solutions for autonomous harvesting and navigation in fields. They deploy robots equipped with stereo cameras to identify and pick fresh produce based on size and ripeness. Additionally, they create food-safe grippers for separating the fruit from the plants. They also manufacture autonomous tractors and hybrid-electric drive systems which enable farmers to automate large-scale operations with less time and effort.
Nexus Robotics develops Robotic Weeders
Canadian startup Nexus Robotics develops Le Chevre, a robot that detects and removes weeds from fields. The robot makes use of deep learning algorithms and cameras to differentiate between weeds and crops. This enables the robot to correctly identify the weeds, which are then removed without damaging the crops. It also collects data about the growing conditions of the crops and enables farmers to leverage the data into making informed decisions.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Incorporating AI in agriculture provides farmers with real-time insights into their field conditions, allowing them to be proactive. AI offers predictive insights for forecasting weather data, crop yield, and prices, thereby aiding farmers to make informed decisions. Chatbots offer suggestions and input recommendations to farmers. AI and ML algorithms automate anomaly and disease recognition in plants and livestock. This enables timely detection and corrective response if required. Biotechnology also deploys ML algorithms for gene selection recommendations. Further, AI provides easy access to finance to farmers who are denied credit from banks through alternative credit scoring. Startups are exploiting AI in several ways to come up with innovative solutions that improve overall agricultural quality. For example, harvest quality vision (HQV) is a recent AgriTech innovation that scans and determines the quality and quantity of fruits and vegetables.
Arva Intelligence provides AI-powered Crop Planning
US-based startup Arwa Intelligence leverages artificial intelligence to provide customized recommendations for crop planning. The startup creates a software interface that aggregates all farm data to perform detailed analysis on genetics, soil fertility, climate, harvest, and yield. They offer intelligent solutions of soil and climate classification specific to the crops grown in the field. Moreover, they facilitate harvest analytics by generating farm-level report cards that enable farmers to identify the limiting factors and analyze the performance of field inputs on the crops.
Ask Attis specializes in Disease Detection for Plants
Ask Attis is a Belgian startup that offers plant disease detection through their app, Planticus. Powered by artificial intelligence, their mobile application identifies diseases and detects pests in plants. The startup ensures food security by developing identification technologies and crop monitoring solutions that enable farmers to secure their crops before possible damage occurs.
Increasing farm productivity while saving costs is challenging. But drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), help farmers overcome this hassle in an effective way. Drones collect raw data which translates into useful information for farm monitoring. Drones equipped with cameras facilitate aerial imaging and surveying of near and far-stretched fields. This data optimizes the application of fertilizers, water, seeds, and pesticides, driving precision agriculture. Moreover, drones facilitate livestock tracking, geofencing, and grazing monitoring. They fly over fields to capture images that range from simple visible-light photographs to multispectral imagery which helps in the crop, soil, and field analysis. Even though drones are not fit for poultry monitoring as their movement frightens birds, drones are effective for livestock monitoring, grazing monitoring, and crop cultivation. Startups are also working on drones capable of measuring the chlorophyll level, weed pressure, as well as soil mineral and chemical composition.
Wakan Tech facilitates Aerial Pollination
Wakan Tech is an Omani startup working on innovative drone solutions for aerial pollination of date palm trees. They develop drones for crop health monitoring, targeted spraying of pesticides and pollen. Their drones pollinate the trees by using liquid or dry pollen and are much faster than conventional pollination methods. These drones are equipped with AI and computer vision technology for the detection of pests and diseased date palm trees. This allows faster and more accurate targeting and spraying, especially in the case of large farm operations.
Equinox’s Drones offers Drone Solutions
Indian startup Equinox’s Drones leverages drone technology to offer numerous services like crop surveillance, aerial inspection, data processing, and data analysis. They provide drone aerial mapping solutions with the help of ortho-mosaic maps, 3D point clouds, digital models, contour maps, and more. The startup processes images and videos from the drones to facilitate aerial inspection of crops and data analysis. They also provide crop yield estimation based on the data acquired from drones.
5. Precision Agriculture
Sustainability in agriculture refers to the use of eco-friendly methods and inputs which have zero or minimal negative impact on the environment. An example of this is site-specific crop and livestock management, commonly known as precision agriculture. It is a method in which farmers use exact amounts of input, such as water, pesticides, and fertilizers, to enhance the quality and productivity of yield. Different tracts of land across the field have different soil properties, receive different sunlight, and have different slopes. The same treatment for the whole farm, thus, is inefficient and leads to a wastage of time and resources. To tackle this, many AgriTech startups are developing solutions in precision agriculture to improve profitability while addressing sustainability challenges.
Data Farming enables Cloud-based Precision Agriculture
Australian startup Data Farming delivers digital solutions in the area of precision agriculture with the help of pay-per-use cloud services. Their cloud-based platform, The Digital Agronomist, includes tools such as satellite images, soil mapping, auto-zone, and much more, empowering farmers with actionable insights into the field. The solution offers free soil mapping with NDVI, high-resolution satellite imagery, and variable rate technology. The variable-rate application ensures that the rate of application of farm inputs is based on the precise location, thereby establishing precision farming.
Agricolus develops Precision Agriculture Tools
Agricolus is an Italian startup that develops numerous tools for precision farming to improve farm management. They deploy satellites and drones for calculating parameters relating to vigor, water stress, and the quantity of chlorophyll. They also develop maps that facilitate variable rate application of fertilizers and other inputs. Further, the startup offers traceability of the farm operations and performance analysis via their hardware, AgriPlug. Overall, the solutions optimize production with the right treatment and inputs, while lowering the management costs incurred.
6. Agricultural Biotechnology
A lot of crop yield gets wasted due to pests and plant diseases. Although agrochemicals are utilized in fields, they are not the best solution when it comes to sustainability. On the other hand, the application of biotechnology in agriculture improves the quality of crops and livestock. Scientific techniques like plant breeding, hybridization, genetic engineering, and tissue culture facilitate the identification of better traits in plants. CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing technology that allows high target specificity with improved speed and precision. It produces transgenic plants with desired qualities like disease tolerance, drought tolerance, pest resistance, and high yield capacity. This enhances the profitability of farm production. Startups also leverage agri-biotech methods to provide solutions such as biopesticides, bioherbicides, biofertilizers, and bioplastics for fields. These solutions address soil toxicity concerns and ensure a minimal negative impact on the environment.
AgGene specializes in Plant Breeding
AgGene is a Canadian agri-biotech startup that exploits plant breeding techniques to develop seeds and tissues with increased protein content. They specialize in manipulating genes for the accumulation of proteins. The startup addresses the surge in demand for plant proteins across the globe. They also deploy genetic editing platforms including CRISPR and MAD7 to incorporate desired traits in commercial crops.
XytoVet improves Livestock Productivity
Australian startup XytoVet is working on breeding techniques for sheep, cattle, and aquaculture. Their DNA technology assigns the right parentage to sheep and cattle, which helps farmers identify the good flock quickly. The startup also works to improve aquaculture by selecting genes with higher growth rates and disease resistance. They provide a range of genetic analyses to assist farmers in livestock management decision-making.
7. Big Data & Analytics
Big data and analytics techniques transform everyday farm data into actionable insights. Statistics of crop area, production, land use, irrigation, agricultural prices, weather forecasts, and crop diseases, lay the foundation for the next farming season. Analytical tools make use of data on weather events, farm equipment, water cycles, quality, and quantity of crops to extract information relevant to farm operations. This enables growers to identify patterns and relationships that may otherwise remain hidden. Several startups are offering solutions in the area of farm analytics that enable farmers to take advantage of their field data. For example, analytical data fosters an understanding of the soil nutrient levels, acidity, and alkalinity as well as fertilizer requirements, enabling data-driven decision-making.
Fyllo provides Crop Analytics
Fyllo is an Indian startup that leverages cloud services for the analysis of farm data. Their devices are installed across the farm for data sensing and reporting. The startup builds models with real-time farm data to empower farmers with an understanding of their crop needs, irrigation requirements, pests, and diseases. They also provide a personalized fertilizer schedule for crops based on the analysis of soil data.
AgriData Innovations (ADI) enables Data-driven Farming
Dutch startup AgriData Innovations facilitates the collection, analysis, and visualization of farm data, especially of greenhouses. ADI develops embedded data transfer and control software. They specialize in compartmentalization from an image up to a specific leaf of the crop, thereby enabling farmers to make accurate decisions. Further, the startup also deploys neural networks and image processing to measure crop health, leaf size, and more. Their insights from data analytics and visualization improve the overall productivity and operations of greenhouses.
8. Controlled Environment Agriculture
Fluctuating and extreme weather events constantly hamper conventional farming methods. Further, growing crops in populated cities, deserts, or other unfavorable conditions pose significant challenges. This is overcome by controlled environment agriculture (CEA). In CEA, plants are subjected to a controlled proportion of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. There are different growing environments, namely, indoor farming, vertical farming, and greenhouses, among others. There is an increased deployment of techniques like hydroponics and aeroponics which involve growing soilless plants in a liquid nutrient medium or steam. Another such technique is aquaponics, where plants and fish are cultivated simultaneously. Fish provides nutrients to plants while plants purify the water for the fish. CEA methods reduce pests and diseases, increase yield, and establish sustainable farming practices.
OnePointOne specializes in Vertical Aeroponics
US-based startup OnePointOne builds a vertical plane aeroponics farming space. They deploy vertical farming techniques to come up with space-saving, water-saving, and labor-saving solutions. Further, they deploy hyperspectral high-resolution imagery to analyze plants on the farm. The startup also provides personalized farming and nutrition services to farmers.
Baltic Freya offers Fogponics
Lithuanian startup Baltic Freya identifies existing problems in the field of hydroponics and aeroponics to give rise to a new and improved fogponics technique. Plants grown through hydroponics are likely to acquire root diseases, while aeroponics often deploys several nozzles. Existing fogponics techniques may overheat the nutrient solution or crack the piezoceramics discs. So, the startup has come up with Fogponics 2.0, where they ensure optimum fog generation so as to not overheat the solution or crack the discs. This sustains and improves the maintenance and operability of the environment where plants grow.
9. Regenerative Agriculture
Conventional farming practices lead to long-term erosion and crusting of soil. Often, the plowing, tilling, and overgrazing don’t allow much time for the soil to revive before the next cropping season. Regenerative agriculture, on the other hand, causes minimal soil disturbance while focusing on improving soil biodiversity and topsoil revival. It involves different practices like no-till farming, reduced tillage, crop rotation, and more. For example, cover crops are planted to cover the soil between cropping seasons to restore soil fertility. Further, regenerative farming facilitates fields to act as a carbon sink through sequestration. This leads to fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere and a lesser impact on climate change.
Freesoil improves Soil Resilience
Freesoil is a Dutch startup that develops high-quality plant-based compost extract for the soil. Once the compost extract is applied to the soil, it is naturally selected by the plants, and this ensures its applicability to multiple crops. They also add microorganisms to the soil on a regular basis. This enhances the symbiosis between plants and microbes and ultimately leads to nutrient-rich soil. Thus, their solution enables plants to grow in healthier soil, making them more resilient to diseases.
Acterra deploys Fermentation Technology
Canadian startup Acterra specializes in fermentation technology for composting, seed, soil, and residue treatments. They develop a compost additive that accelerates matter breakdown, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and also enriches the existing manure with nutrients. Moreover, their method sequesters carbon into the soil making it a sustainable solution.
10. Connectivity Technologies
Smart farming is not possible without connectivity technologies like 5g, LPWAN, rural broadband, or satellite-enabled communication. 5G facilitates the adoption of IoT devices, robots, and sensors and enables them to communicate at high speeds. This enables farmers to monitor the data more accurately in real-time and take the required actions. High-speed internet using fiber optic cables aid the exchange of field data in real-time, which is crucial when it comes to improving accuracy. Connectivity technologies support other technologies like IoT, which ultimately work in coordination to form connected farms.
Ellenex manufactures Connectivity-based Sensors
Australian startup Ellenex offers a wide range of agricultural sensor products that are powered by connectivity technologies such as LoRaWAN, low-power satellite, Sigfox, and low-power WiFi, among others. These network technologies support battery-powered devices used for the measurement of pressure, flow, level, water quality, and temperature. This helps in on-time monitoring of the farm with farmers easily accessing accurate data.
AgriLinx creates a Self-deployed Network
AgriLinx is a US-based startup that develops its FLEX network, a LoRaWAN network that provides up to 5 miles of low-bandwidth data coverage. It helps farmers access farm data on their mobile devices and track irrigation, farm equipment, and more. The startup also provides wireless backhauls to connect remote farm locations with internet services. This ensures full connectivity across the fields for proper farm management.
Discover More AgriTech Trends & Startups
The agriculture industry is experiencing disruptive technological developments, especially in developed countries. In developing countries, the rate of adoption is quite slow, but still on the rise. Smart farming makes agriculture more profitable for farmers. Access to site-specific information, weather forecasts, and yield predictions empower proactive approaches to farming. Several technologies work in coordination to facilitate easy, accurate, and faster farm operations. Today’s agriculture facilitates even farmers to work from home with the deployment of IoT devices, sensors, and automated systems.
The Agriculture Trends, Technologies & Startups outlined in this report only scratch the surface of farming industry trends that we identified during our in-depth innovation and startup scouting process. Among others, IoT solutions, agricultural robotics, and agri-biotechnology will transform the sector as we know it today. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage. To explore more agricultural technologies, simply get in touch to let us look into your areas of interest. For a more general overview, you can download our free AgriTech Innovation Report to save your time and improve strategic decision-making.