Agtech seedlings: BASF looks to the stars for digital farm tools | Agco Ventures makes first investment

By Staff
5 Min Read

Editor’s note: Agtech Seedlings is a weekly roundup of the latest in agriculture technology news, digging into venture funding, product announcements and other innovation milestones. Have news to share? Email us here.

BASF taps satellite data to power digital farming tools

Agricultural chemicals giant BASF is increasing its reliance on satellite imagery to support its digital management tools which help farmers make smarter decisions around seeding, nutrition and weed and disease management. 

Planet Labs, which operates the world’s largest constellation of Earth observation imaging satellites, said this week that it will expand a commercial partnership with BASF. The chemicals company will grow its use of two Planet Labs products: one combining radar and optical signals to help producers better understand the status of their farms, and another providing near-daily imagery of the world’s agricultural fields.

The expanded partnership will help power BASF’s Xarvio digital solutions brand, which provides field-level insights for farmers to optimize crop production. 

“Using Planet’s satellite data … we can continue to deliver measurable benefits, and through the expanded partnership we can scale that impact,” Dr. Thomas Schilling, managing director and global head of platform engineering at BASF Digital Farming, said in a statement.

— Sarah Zimmerman

Agco’s venture capital initiative makes first investment

Farm machinery manufacturer Agco is backing an early-stage venture capital fund supporting agtech startups.

The undisclosed investment will go toward Innova Memphis’ Ag Innovation Fund VI, which partners with startups looking to transform the future of farming through technology advancing automation, digitization and sustainability. The investment is the first under Agco Ventures, the farm equipment manufacturer’s investment initiative focused on bringing “full crop cycle autonomy” to the market by 2030

Agco plans to work with Innova to identify and support high-potential startups at the forefront of agricultural technology, according to the release.

“This partnership enables us to tap into the latest innovations in the field, from automation and digitization to sustainability and efficiency, ensuring that we continue to provide our customers with the most advanced and effective solutions on the market,” Seth Crawford, Agco senior vice president and general manager of precision ag unit PTx, said in a statement.

— Sarah Zimmerman

Cox Farms partner acquires bell pepper greenhouse

Indoor farming company Mucci Farms on Wednesday announced the acquisition of Hacienda North Farms, a 159-acre greenhouse facility that grows bell peppers, expanding its production footprint in Ontario, Canada.

Mucci Farms, a partner with Cox Farms, worked together with Hacienda North Farm for nearly ten years, gleaning insights into the greenhouse and food grown there before securing the deal.

“Bringing them into our fold presents an exciting opportunity to further enhance our ability to meet the needs of our retail partners,” Bert Mucci, CEO of Mucci Farms, said in a statement. 

Cox Farms is the recently formed food and agriculture division of broadband giant Cox Enterprises, focused on indoor farming.

As part of the acquisition, Mucci is gaining ownership of a 120-acre land bank, positioning itself for future growth and scalability. Financial details were not disclosed.

— Nathan Owens

Indoor weed farming merger gets ripped

Greenhouse tech supplier Nature’s Miracle Holding Inc. and Agrify Corp., a provider of cannabis cultivation and extraction technologies, have ended plans to merge just days after an agreement was signed, citing unfavorable market conditions.

“Based on the current unfavorable market conditions, we’ve determined this is in the best interest of our shareholders and the long-term value of our business,” James Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Nature’s Miracle, said in a statement Monday.

In connection with the canceled merger, the companies have mutually agreed to terminate plans for Nature’s Miracle to acquire Agrify, related entities and debt controlled by Raymond Chang, Agrify’s chairman and chief executive officer. No cancellation fees are attached.

The merger agreement, which has been in the works since April, would have united Nature’s Miracle’s indoor farming technologies with Agrify’s offerings to become a force in the cannabis and controlled environment agriculture sectors. It also would have been a potential lifeline for Agrify, who had an accumulated stockholders’ deficit of $265.8 million, as of March 31.

The deal was signed May 16 and terminated four days later.

— Nathan Owens

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