Irish start-up’s amazing crop-dusting idea wins Forbes award

15 Jul 2016

MagGrow’s remarkable device that reduces unwanted and potentially dangerous drift from crop spraying has landed the company top prize at the 2016 Thrive Accelerator Sustainability Award.

MagGrow is the company behind a process that harnesses natural magnetic fields as a way to target crop sprays directly where intended.

The company claims that ‘drift’ – the process whereby the likes of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides miss their target and end up in adjacent locations or water supplies – can be reduced by up to 80pc using its unique process.

Top of the class

The organisers of the eight-week Thrive Accelerator Programme at the 2nd annual Forbes AgTech Summit in California were so impressed that MagGrow finished top of the class among a dozen start-ups.

MagGrow’s service is key due to estimates that up to 40pc of crops are lost globally to pests and disease. Spraying crops with solutions helps fight that and, to focus as much of the liquids as possible on the intended plants, MagGrow worked out a way to utilise the fact that all living plants and soil have a magnetic field.

The company attaches of a series of magnetic inserts onto a sprayer and an electromagnetic charge is infused into the liquid spray, resulting in targeted attraction.

Delighted to have won

“We are truly delighted to have won the award,” said Gary Wickham, CEO of MagGrow. “It is a great testimony to the dedication of the MagGrow team in the development of our unique technology that has significant transformational benefits for the arable and horticulture sectors.”

Wickham – whose company is based at NovaUCD – said the global population is estimated to top 9bn by 2050, putting added pressures on food and water. “By using current farming methods, we simply will not be able to meet this demand. But we truly believe that every generation has the right to a sustainable supply of food and water and so we must find better ways to grow, and that is why we developed MagGrow.”

Main crop dust image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic