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Tomatoes on a vine

BVC Invests in WayBeyond’s AI Agriculture Technology

Red Tomatoes on a vine
(Credit: Pixabay)

BASF Venture Capital (BVC) is investing in WayBeyond’s AI agriculture technology. Founded in New Zealand and now headquartered in the United States, WayBeyond is an IoT and software as a service (SaaS) company that aims to improve crop yields, crop quality, and grower profitability for low-to-mid tech controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) operations using data capture, farm management, and prediction tools. 

Controlled-Environment Agriculture Operations

CEA refers to a variety of systems that take a technology-based approach to farming, which includes glasshouses, greenhouses, net houses, and tunnels. CEA growing operations typically produce tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, and peppers. Growth in CEA, specifically low-to-mid tech CEA, is expected to increase steadily as the global population increases and as sustainability goals drive concerns of food shortages, encouraging growers to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations. Major production markets include Mexico, Morocco, and Spain; export markets include the United States and Europe. 

WayBeyond’s data collection tools and AI technology-powered agronomy insights platform, FarmRoad, is an expert agronomist for every farm that gives growers farm-and crop-specific insights and recommendations to transform their growing decisions, improving yield, consistency, and quality for more sustainable farming. WayBeyond also partners with seed producers to utilize the FarmRoad platform and FarmRoad’s crop-contextual AI for seed efficacy and quality. 

Markus Solibieda, Managing Director of BASF Venture Capital GmbH, said: “The use of controlled-environment agriculture to grow fruits and vegetables continues to expand globally. As the next generation of growers enters the agriculture industry, we believe that their entry point will be CEA. WayBeyond is positioned to transform the  way these CEA farmers grow the crops that will feed our growing population.”  

The EPA says agriculture represents approximately 11% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This comes from the soil, crop production, and livestock. Among the ways improvements can be made by enhancing soil management, controlling the way manure is handled, and capturing methane to turn into renewable energy, the EPA says. Carbon sequestration is another vital piece of sustainability in agriculture.

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