Five for Friday: Agricultural innovations
This Finnish quintet has developed different ways to ensure agriculture is at the forefront of technology advancements.
Historically, Finns have lived off the land. It’s fitting then that they have created a range of innovations that tackle a variety of earthbound challenges in the modern age.
Much has changed since 2015, when we first heard about this agricultural technology company. This VTT spin-off was first known as Haytech, taking its name from its innovative wireless IoT system for monitoring fermentation levels in hay bales, an abundance of which damages quality and creates spontaneous combustion risks.
Fast forward, and these days the solution is also used for monitoring grain stores and optimising the recycling process of residues into compost. The company also made headlines earlier this year for closing a 1.5 million-euro funding round.
“We want to accelerate our product development also to other fermented materials such as grain, compost and woodcut, and aim at an ever-expanding international market,” said founder and managing director Nadine Pesonen.
This company has developed technology that wirelessly transmits environmental data from deep below ground. Levels of moisture, temperature and salinity are reported in real time, from as deep as four metres below the surface. This provides vast savings in water and energy usage, thus guaranteeing demand for Soil Scout’s device in future.
“Between now and 2050, the world is going to need a 300 per cent increase in the amount of water to service the needs of the next two billion in population,” the company’s then CEO Jonathan Skelly told us in 2015. “What motivates us is the excitement to make a tangible change.”
Air, light, nutrients and water are the typical ingredients for growing happy vegetables. Soon, living moss could be part of the mix, thanks to a new sustainable and resource-saving growing media developed in Finland.
Novarbo’s Mosswool slab provides an efficient and sustainable substrate for various vegetables. The slabs are made of sphagnum moss, are fully recyclable by composting and need less frequent watering than today’s commonly used growing media.
“We already have a long queue of customers wanting to try the product,” technology expert Petri Konttinen outlined earlier this year.
With its handheld device, this Finnish company makes it easy for farmers to measure the quality of their grain for the first time ever, allowing them to make better decisions about their produce.
The firm is now concentrating on the Finnish, Swedish and the Baltic markets, with plans to expand soon to other European countries. Operating internationally was self-evident from the start: “This is a world-class device, and our ambition is to make it available to farmers around the world,” CEO Edvard Krogius said in our feature article in April.
The idea was that anyone can support a transition to regenerative farming using the project’s mobile app. Users can select any amount of land they wish from one of the project’s farms. The land will then be transformed through regenerative farming.
“Thanks to comprehensive scientific research we know that the most effective solution to world hunger and climate change can be found in regenerative farming in which the used agricultural methods result in nutrient-rich soil that can capture excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” commented Anette Kauppinen.