Two AgLaunch startups, Re Envision Ag and Grain Weevil, offer new technology for two important aspects in farming, planting a crop and grain storage.
Re Envision Ag and Grain Weevil are two out of five startups AgLaunch introduced during the 2021 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show Virtual Event. AgLaunch's slogan is, "Bringing startup culture to agriculture." They connect entrepreneurs with growers, support business development, mentor new talent, and discover novel approaches to farming.
Re Envision Ag
Re Envision Ag gives a new solution for arguably the most important task any farmer does, planting a crop. With a focus on soil health, no-till, and regenerative agriculture practices, Re Envision Ag has a new planting tool for farmers.
"I don't know if it will surprise you, but it amazes me that row crop agriculture relies on technology envisioned hundreds of years ago," said Jayson Ryner, founder and CEO of Re Envision Ag. "At Re Envision Ag, we are focused on helping farmers with the next generation in row crop planting."
In row crops, compaction matters. The current industry standard was last fundamentally modified 50 years ago. Disc openers are designed to be used in soil that has been dried out, going between four and six miles per hour.
"Today, we are trying to use the disc opener where it was never meant to go into high residue and wet soils using high-speed while applying up to 300 pounds of down pressure, resulting in disc opener compaction," he said. "Farmers planting in wet soil can experience 20 to 50% yield loss caused by disc opener compaction. To the farmer, there is a danger of messing up the entire crop at the most critical time in the most critical spot, the root zone at planting."
The Re Envision Ag planter system is designed to place the seed at the optimal depth and spacing chosen by the farmer, eliminating compaction, and ensuring the root zone is optimized for growth.
"We plan to sell individual row units," Ryner said. "Our row-unit is designed to pay for itself quickly while widening the planting window, lowering input costs, capturing full yield potential, and expanding the farmer's bottom line while also achieving healthier soils and sustainability. Our light row-unit opens the door for the new ag economy. Less need for tillage means less money spent on horsepower. Less soil contact means the maximum carbon sequestration and payments to the farmer."
For more information, go to https://reenvisionag.com/.
The Grain Weevil addresses a critical element in grain storage and handling by using robots to increase farmer safety while also potentially protecting the quality of the grain.
"We are a father-son company, and we want to increase grain bin safety for farmers," said Ben Johnson, Chief Innovation Officer for the Grain Weevil Corporation. "Grain bins are hot, dirty, and dangerous workplaces. To adequately manage stored grain, farmers are exposed to potential falls, entrapments, auger entanglements, and long-term conditions such as farmer's lung. On the nearly 450,000 American farms with grain bins, farmers collectively take these risks over 6 million times a year. Grain needs to be managed during the entire storage process, and a farmer with a shovel has always been the best solution.
"Unfortunately, this led to 23 entrapment deaths in 2019 alone. Even worse, one out of every five grain bin accidents is a teenage boy. How is the industry addressing this problem now? As we have mentioned, a farmer with a shovel and a can-do attitude is the most common answer. Other solutions include extremely heavy equipment that is usually permanently attached to every bin and often still leaves a farmer with some reasons to enter the bin."
The Grain Weevil team created a robot as a solution to keep farmers out of grain bins as well as fundamentally change how grain bins are managed.
"The Grain Weevil addresses storage challenges by working smarter, not harder," he said. "The device scurries across the top of the grain, which reduces its viscosity. This lets gravity do the rest of the work, smoothing out the walls of grain, and breaking up the crusts and ridges. It is lightweight, portable, and powerful enough to take the place of a farmer with a shovel."
The Grain Weevil currently weighs around 30 pounds and comes in a convenient backpack for safe lugging to the top of the bin. Features include a swappable payload bay, battery packs, a video stream, and a basic sensor package. The robot can be driven by a handheld remote control and will eventually operate autonomously.
"The Grain Weevil addresses two main issues that grain farmers face today," Johnson said. "The first is grain bin safety. We hope that a farmer will never enter a grain bin again. If they stay out, they stay safe. The ability to keep a farmer safe is priceless.
"The second issue, which our robot addresses, is managing the quality of stored grain through tasks like inspections, leveling, and dispersing of the grain when it is being loaded. Keeping just one bin from spoiling, could save a farmer as much as $20,000. The Grain Weevil is on a mission to become an ag robot that does the work no farmer should have to do."
For more information, go to http://www.grainweevil.com/.
Go to http://aglaunch.com/ for more information about AgLaunch Startups.