Sydney-based agricultural tech firm The Yield has finalised an AU$11 million funding round led by Yamaha Motor Ventures, the investment arm of the global tech firm Yamaha Motor.
The Yield founder and managing director Ros Harvey said the investment would be used to further fund the company's expansion strategy.
"This is series A funding and proceeds will be used to accelerate our global patent strategy in targeted jurisdictions, product development, and to further build our marketing and sales capability," she told ZDNet.
In addition, major shareholder in The Yield, the Bosch Group, has converted its existing loan into equity in the company.
"It's great to see The Yield getting traction and attracting such investment. There is no doubt, Agriculture 4.0 is coming of age, and Australia is poised to play a leading role thanks to companies like The Yield," Bosch Australia president Gavin Smith said.
The Yield is known for developing its Sensing+ system, which measures 14 variables of a typical agriculture model such as rain, light, wind, temperature, and soil moisture in real time. The information is then ingested into an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to help commercial farmers make on-farm decisions about when to irrigate, feed, plant, protect, and harvest.
One company that recently implemented the technology is Costa Group, one of Australia's largest horticulturist companies, which began rolling out the artificial intelligence-based system to help better understand and manage the quantity and quality of its berry crops.
The system was recently installed within the polytunnels of Costa's eight berry farms in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania.
See also: Cattle farmers use AR, dairy robots, and wearables to make the business more sustainable (TechRepublic)
The system has also been used to predict the yield for viticulture and other vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach.
Harvey previously told ZDNet that more agricultural businesses are likely to turn to technology to help reduce risks that arise from running their farms.
"As we face a risky future with climate change and more unpredictable weather events, like we've experienced this summer, we're seeing a lot more production moving towards a way that's semi-protected, like Costa is doing where they're putting production inside these polytunnels that reduce weather risk," she said.
"When that happens, you need a lot of capital, and a lot of capital need to be de-risked, so we're seeing a lot of our customers become more digitally driven to reduce this uncertainty and risk."
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