Israeli agtech startup Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, a company that developed artificial pollination tech for insect-pollinated crops, announced this month that it is expanding its services to wind-pollinated crops.
Wind pollination, where a form of pollination is distributed by the wind, occurs in nature on a large number of plants, including grasses, olives, dates, pistachios, and some vegetable seeds. Its effectiveness depends on the synchronization of the male and female plants’ blooming, along with weather and environmental conditions.
Currently, farmers have much less control over the pollination process relative to other aspects of farming that employ more advanced technology. Edete’s artificial pollination innovation is meant to fill this void and provide farmers with more predictable, consistent crop yields.
“In recent years, growers have been confronted by an increased asynchrony between the bloom timing of male and female trees. As a result, the yield is reduced, and in extreme cases even result in lack of yield in entire plots,” explained Keren Mimran, co-founder and VP for Business Development and Marketing at Edete. “Our technology can and will solve this problem in a manner that helps growers feed the world in the most economical and effective way possible.”
Pistachios were the subject of Edete’s first pilot of its artificial wind pollination program. The company conducted the pilot in California during which Edete looked for ways to expand the yield of young female plants and mature orchards.
Edete’s artificial pollination process has two steps: pollen harvesting and pollen distribution. During pollen harvesting, Edete separates the pollen from mechanically collected flowers and then stores the pollen for more than a year. During pollen distribution, Edete loads the stored pollen into its artificial pollinator which disperses the pollen onto trees, using LIDAR sensor technology to find the right trees and target the appropriate flowers.
While the company hopes to implement this with many crops, almonds have been a particular focus thus far. Edete has created pollen production facilities in Israel for the almond sector and developed relationships with almond growers in Australia and the United States.
Founded in 2016, the company plans to raise funds during a Series A investment round in 2021, with the hopes of scaling up, continuing the transition into wind-pollinated crops, and moving more into the US market.