2. Earth Rover

Company: Earth Rover

Website: https://www.earthrover.farm/

CEO: David Whitewood


About Earth Rover

Earth Rover is a Shropshire start-up which aims to use cutting-edge technologies to help farmers improve crop yields. The firm recently secured £250,000 from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). The funding will allow Earth Rover to launch its first product, a ‘crop scouting’ system which predicts the size and timing of harvests.

Earth Rover’s system uses cameras fitted to a tractor to scan the plants and measure their growth as the vehicle passes through the fields on routine farm operations. The data is then analysed using artificial intelligence (AI) housed in a supercomputer on board the tractor.

Crop scouting is traditionally carried out by farmers walking the field. Earth Rover aims to provide more accurate predictions to help them produce the right number of crops – enough to meet contracts with buyers while avoiding food waste that has to be ploughed back into the fields. It also helps farmers plan their harvesting labour requirements.

The system, which is suitable for high value crops such as broccoli and lettuce, is being trialled at Polybell Farm in Doncaster, one of the UK’s leading organic vegetable producers.

Earth Rover will initially target growers in the UK and Spain, which has a year-round season. The company, which has been funded so far through angel investment and by a contract with the European Space Agency, is also working on robotic systems for herbicide-free weeding and harvesting.

The MEIF funding will allow Earth Rover to fund current trials and bring its product to market.