NASA Harvest and CropX Pto Support Sustainable Ag Initiatives

NASA Harvest (NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture Program) and CropX, a global leader in soil analytics for agriculture, today announced a strategic partnership that will give NASA Harvest unprecedented soil insights for its global agricultural monitoring efforts. Supporting a more sustainable agrifood ecosystem, together NASA Harvest and CropX will provide farmers and industry experts with the data and information they need to improve farming sustainability by conserving resources and improving crop yields.

The partnership will further NASA Harvest’s mission to improve food security and advance sustainable agriculture, supporting farmer productivity while preserving natural resources in the United States and worldwide through the use of satellite data. Combining the power of CropX soil data monitoring, comprehensive insights provided by the CropX ag analytics platform, and NASA’s network of Earth-observing satellites, NASA Harvest aims to deliver critical insights to governments and farmers around the globe in support of informed and science-driven decision making.

“Soil health and nutrient management is at the very root of food security and sustainable agriculture concerns – an accurate understanding of what is actually happening underneath the ground is essential,” noted Nadav Liebermann, CTO of CropX. “Satellite imagery has long been an integral part of CropX algorithms, and our partnership with NASA Harvest will deliver valuable agronomic insights by connecting critical data at different depths underground and from an expansive network of satellites in space. We are looking forward to working with the NASA Harvest team to improve farming decision-making worldwide – in both developed and undeveloped regions.”

NASA has deployed CropX solutions across a group of alfalfa farms in Arizona controlled by IAF Investments Group to test and finetune the algorithms that will become the foundation of nationwide, and eventually global, agriculture insights. Over a 12-month time period with the integration of NASA satellite data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) information, the pilot program will quickly establish the parameters for water usage estimates, yield prediction, soil quality and land usage assessments based on multiple crop growing cycles. “We are delighted to collaborate with CropX and NASA Harvest on this most important deployment,” stated Jon-Michael Nahon, a Senior IAF Managing Partner, “Optimal and sustainable use of farm inputs is crucial to meeting the world’s food challenge.” Particularly in light of a renewed focus on soil moisture metrics spurred by NASA’s NISAR mission, the team hopes to build upon the pilot study in the coming years by using the best available technology to analyze and support more cost-effective and environmentally efficient farming methods.

“We are in a constant race to produce and supply enough food in order to feed a rapidly growing global population, with finite land and natural resources. NASA Harvest is dedicated to collaborating with top innovators to make the best possible use of our agricultural land; CropX unites our space-led vision with on-farm intelligence and results,” added Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef, program director of NASA Harvest. “We were impressed by the accuracy and reliability with which the CropX soil monitoring platform was able to both pinpoint various soil health and environmental challenges, as well as determine opportunities for water, energy and nutrient conservation. CropX offers the advanced tools and global farm footprint needed to understand and improve soil health and water quality tied to farming ecosystems around the world. Paired with satellite data, this provides the opportunity to scale these insights in support of farmer productivity and more effective use of available resources.”

First introduced via their involvement in Farm2050, an ecosystem of agrifood industry leaders led by Innovation Endeavors and Finistere Ventures, the new partnership between CropX and NASA Harvest puts collaboration across the public, private and academic sectors into practice. A multidisciplinary consortium led by the University of Maryland, NASA Harvest is dedicated to creating the partnerships needed to unlock innovation in agriculture. Together, NASA Harvest and CropX plan to quickly scale the program based on learnings from the initial pilot.

Reinke to use CropX Irrigation Technologies

Israel-based CropX and the Nebraska-based Reinke have announced recently a strategic partnership, in which Reinke will offer growers across the US a new solution that incorporates CropX’s smart irrigation scheduling platform into Reinke irrigation systems. The agreement between the two companies also includes an investment in CropX by Reinke. CropX eyes the US Agriculture market. Earlier this year it acquired the agricultural analytic company CropMetrics, also based in Nebraska.

Reinke is one of the leading manufacturers of center pivot irrigation systems in the US, and is operating in roughly 40 countries. The most commonly used irrigation method among growers in the US is central pivotal irrigation, in which the irrigation system is situated in the center of the crop and sprinkles the water in a circular motion. This way, the sprinkler is able to cover a very large circular area of ​​several hundred acres. These systems are cheaper than deploying drip irrigation and require less maintenance and manpower.

Smarter irrigation

Speaking to TechTime, CropX CEO Tomer Tzach points out the main disadvantage of pivotal irrigation systems. “These systems cover large areas, but they shower  the water uniformly throughout the radius, like rain. Agricultural areas are not always homogeneous, and uniform irrigation may result in a waste of water”.

CropX has developed a platform that includes sensors that are embedded in the soil and measure the degree of moisture in the soil. The sensors are able to analyze the type of soil and transmit the data to a smart control system, which gives the farmer accurate information on the irrigation status at each point in the cultivated area, and schedule the irrigation and fertilization plans in a more efficient and data-driven manner. The platform also takes into account information from external sources such as weather forecasts, maps and aerial photos.

Through the partnership, growers using both systems will have access to CropX’s enhanced irrigation data-driven prescriptions that they can incorporate into their Reinke irrigation control system. “Our technology makes these irrigation systems smarter. The integration will make it possible to plan the use of the system based on the agronomic information obtained from our sensors and in accordance with the weather and forecast data.”

This partnership introduces Reinke to the world of digital agriculture, which has been growing rapidly in recent years. “It’s important for them to expand from a manufacturer of equipment to a company that provides an added value to farmers in the field of digital agriculture. CropX will provide the digital layer to their  solutions.”