More cash flows for ag robot startup

31 Dec, 2015 01:00 AM

Agfunder is reporting that Blue River Technology, a Californian startup developing robots to weed, thin and spray vegetable crops has raised another US$17 million from investors.

With stakeholders including Monsanto and Syngenta the company is developing machines that analyse and decide on treatment - spraying, thinning or weeding - and execute it in real time.

Agfunder reported the company claims this precision application of inputs will reduce the amount of chemicals used in agriculture by 90 per cent.

Use of the Blue River robots is already underway on about 10pc of the US lettuce crop with six machines doing their thing.

Using the "go-to-market" approach has seen Blue River already develop three generations of its machine within three years. Generation three is 100 times faster and more accurate than the first generation; it can process 5000 plants a minute, according to a company spokesman.

The company plans will move into other crops and is set to use the extra funding raised to hire engineering staff and develop the next generation robots that will be able to apply chemicals and nutrients that are beneficial to specific crops as well as weeding and thinning.

Tom McKenny

Tom McKenny

is the national machinery writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


31/12/2015 6:10:26 AM

Could it be private equity has controlling interest of Monsanto etc and is gaining control of the worlds food production systems? They must have pretty deep pockets to be buying any hint of competition in this market, is that anti competitive behaviour? Would be interesting to see if products can be developed without fed reserve coffers and let producers retain some control over their cost of production. I guess that's a pipe dream, I don't expect any govt controlled research to tread on their toes, they might just lose their own.
John Carpenter
31/12/2015 8:16:40 AM

5000 plants/minute and a 90% reduction in chemical just shows the brilliance of the US free enterprise system. A stark contrast to our failed socialist, collectivist levy-based system administered by the bureaucrats in the DoA.
31/12/2015 8:49:14 AM

JC, what market mechanism is there to stop competing interests such as Monsanto gaining control of this company and restricting the robots availability to farmers or making its use cost prohibitive so that farmers are directed towards whatever system that monopoly wishes? of course, u will answer the free market (can never be one), perhaps it is time farmers put their research money behind these companies so that we control our costs and not the dictators? Would we be better off to put our research funds into buying such a company as Blue River or an Aussie equivalent?
Cowboy Charlie
31/12/2015 3:51:45 PM

At some point, we need to embrace innovation and keep up with the global pace of productivity improvements. the negative handbrake mentality has got to be replaced with the ok let's do this and make it even better mentality that made Australia a global leader in agriculture.


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *


light grey arrow
I'm one of the people who want marijuana to be legalized, some city have been approved it but
light grey arrow
#blueysmegacarshowandcruise2019 10 years on Daniels Ute will be apart of another massive cause.
light grey arrow
Australia's live animal trade is nothing but a blood stained industry that suits those who