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AgResearch: Map & Zap® - AI driven early growth stage weed identification and laser-zapping solution

Opportunity for

  • Industry partners and investors, venture capital firms, for a co-investment opportunity with AgResearch.
    ^This opportunity is only for professional and sophisticated investors.

Opportunity description

Industry challenge:

Large companies such as Bayer are incurring significant costs in legal claims and provisions related to the use of glyphosate (USD14.5 billion to date). Weeds are estimated to cost New Zealand agriculture and forestry NZD1.7 billion, the Australian agricultural industry AUD3.3 billion and the US agricultural industry USD33 billion per annum (in lost crop production). The impact in NZ is an under-estimate. For example, J.T. Saunders et al (2017) found that the economic cost of giant buttercup alone on pastoral farming is between NZD166 million and NZD592 million per annum depending on the rate of spread.

Map & Zap® is an AI driven early growth stage weed identification and laser-zapping solution that reduces the need for chemical herbicides for controlling weeds. The Map & Zap® team has engaged with over 50 farmers, forestry companies, producer organisations and international experts. There is strong demand for Map & Zap®.

Key issues identified through market engagements include:

  • high yield impacts caused by weeds
  • strong consumer pressure to move away from herbicides
  • herbicide resistance
  • transfer of diseases form weeds to host plants
  • high weed control costs, ranging from $113/ha for wheat to $2,600/ha for strawberries
  • labour supply constraints
  • consumer pressure is increasing and supermarket chains are requiring producers to use less herbicides.

Current opportunity:

The intention is to spin the business out of AgResearch, a Crown Research Institute in New Zealand. We are seeking industry partnerships and investors, including venture capital firms, for a co-investment opportunity with AgResearch.

The current state of play with Map & Zap® is as follows:

In terms of the technology, the following has been achieved:

  • AI driven weed ID solution
  • an extensive weed image library
  • field tested ground operating system (separate imaging and zapping)
  • integrated weed ID and laser system tested on potted plants.

Commercial traction achieved:

  • engagements with over 50 farmers, forestry owners and global experts
  • very strong demand for the solution established
  • commercial discussions with partners including potential contractors, end-customers and distributors.

The Map & Zap® team will be launching commercial trials in New Zealand to demonstrate the system by September 2023. We are working closely with industry on the trial design. We also aim to carry out R&D work in Australia.

AgResearch is offering investors the opportunity to take up a meaningful stake in the Map & Zap® NewCo with co-investment from AgResearch. We would like the private sector to take the lead with the Map & Zap® NewCo as we are seeking deep tech start up expertise to commercialise this technology.

Opportunity background:

We have developed both the weed identification capability and library and we have proven the effectiveness of lasers in killing weeds. The R&D is based on weed science, imaging, laser, and AI programming expertise.

The Map & Zap® technology includes:

  1. Mapping:

    • weed identification accuracy: precision weed species and location detection
    • early detection: weed ID at 2 to 3 leaf stage before establishment and flowering.
  2. Zapping:

    • weed control: more than 90% kill rate (without any crop damage)
    • environmentally sustainable: no chemical residue, soil disturbance, carbon or microbiome impact
    • no herbicide resistance risk: fast physical destruction.
    • the impact on users includes a reduction in herbicide usage and improvements in yield.

Our competitive advantage lies in our extensive weed identification library. System agility and affordability are further competitive advantages.

To find out more or to get in touch go to "Enquire now".


^Professional and sophisticated investors as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The content of this opportunity is intended for use by persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments and must not be acted or relied upon by any other person including, without limitation, retail clients.

Opportunity type

Seeking interest, Seeking investment, Seeking partners

Readiness

Early to Mid (TRL 1-7)
For opportunities that are seeking solutions providers who are in the early to mid stages of readiness.
What does this mean?
Describes the stage of the challenge or opportunity being pursued.

Opportunity led by

Multiple industries
Alternative protein Beef cattle Cross industry Dairy Game Natural capital assets Other rural industries Packaged food Pasture, fodder & feed Sheep & lamb Vegetables Wine Wool

AgResearch

We support the primary sector and the Government’s science and innovation priority areas.
  • Location

    New Zealand

Focus areas

Sustainabilities

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  • Led by

    AgResearch

  • Opportunity type

    Research partner

  • Express interest by

    Friday, 21 June 2024 12:00 Australia/Sydney

  • Readiness
    Early (TRL 1-4)
    Describes the challenge or opportunity being pursued and undertakes preliminary R&D to determine if the concept is feasible.

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