ProvEye gets €225,000 from ESA to develop grass management platform

13 Sep 2022

ProvEye CEO and co-founder Dr Jerome O’Connell. Image: Nick Bradshaw

The UCD spin-out is using a combination of drones, satellites and AI to help map grass yield and quality.

Irish agritech start-up ProvEye has been awarded €225,000 in funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a grassland management platform.

The University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out is developing the platform using a combination of drones, satellites and AI. ProvEye said this helps to map grass yield and quality in near-real time, which is critical for managing grazing, grass forage, fertilisation and grass husbandry.

The ESA funding will support the commercialisation of the management platform, which ProvEye plans to bring to market next year.

The company said the platform will lead to higher accuracy and clarity in grassland mapping, which could benefit agricultural advisers, seed suppliers, agri-input providers, commodity brokers and government agencies.

A former Start-up of the Week, NovaUCD-based ProvEye was founded by Dr Jerome O’Connell and Prof Nick Holden. The duo developed tech that removes noise from image data, making it easier to understand and derive insights.

This has applications in multiple areas such as the measurement of crop yield, disease detection, productivity and environmental impact.

The funding announced today (13 September) builds on ProvEye’s previous work with the ESA on automated satellite image processing and drone image analysis of grass swards.

“Through our platform, agri-advisers and input-providers will for the first time be able to provide the farmer with a complete near-100pc accurate picture of their grasslands in near-real time,” O’Connell said.

“This will enable a farmer to see 100pc of the farm area down to plant-by-plant detail, which will be a game changer in terms of productivity and sustainability of grass-based agriculture.”

ProvEye said it is currently validating the platform in Ireland, Europe and New Zealand, engaging with customers through pilot field trials.

“Our technology has the potential to revolutionise grass management not only for the dairy and beef sectors, but also for industries like renewable energy production and grass-based biorefining,” Holden said.

In January, ProvEye received the Ornua Most Innovative AgTech Start-up award at the inaugural AgTechUCD Agcelerator Programme.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic