vertical focus | Agriculture – Inbound Logistics – News Couple
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vertical focus | Agriculture – Inbound Logistics


Tags: Agricultural Logistics, Technology, Sustainability

Cotton Land Discovery

You can sell or donate unwanted cotton clothes in the garage to avoid landfills, but what about burying them in the soil? The Goondiwindi Circular Cotton Project in Australia recently found that ancient cotton textiles can improve soil quality on farms, which could lead to the discovery of a large-scale circular solution for textile supply chains.

One advantage that cotton has over synthetic materials is that its natural fibers degrade quickly in the soil. Because cotton fibers are made of cellulose, they become food for bugs and microbes, which means the soil becomes more active and favorable for growing cotton.

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation conducted a study in 2020, in which small squares of cotton were buried in moist Goondiwindi soil and then incubated for about six months. The results showed that the cut cotton increases bacteria and fungi in the soil, and had no effect on seed germination, and all the more tightly woven cotton pieces break down significantly.

The cotton was shredded to resemble fluff, which was mixed with compost before it was spread across the field. The research says that knowing what to do about synthetic threads, zippers, tags and buttons will be one of the next steps.

Filling farm to board on AI and Blockchain

Food fulfillment often involves a fragmented supply chain. To fill in the gaps, farmers and food retailers are looking to artificial intelligence and blockchain to make catering easier and more transparent. Here are two examples of the technique used:

Japan-based Secai Marche has received $1.4 million in seed funding from Rakuten and Beyond Next to build a logistics platform that combines produce from different growers in the same order. It uses an AI-based algorithm to predict demand based on consumption trends, seasonal produce and farmers’ recommendations, making fulfillment more cost-effective for farmers who sell their crops to restaurants, hotels and other food and beverage businesses locally or abroad.

Paramount Software Solutions has released Farm to Plate, a blockchain platform designed for the food supply industry that extends the transparency of data sharing from the point of origin to the consumer to improve supply chain resilience and food safety compliance. Tracking and tracing systems typically reveal information starting with distributors, but Farm to Plate starts with farms, allowing full supply chain transparency. Primary food demographics include meat, cheese, and produce, with a geographic focus on the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Wheat may be the breadwinner

Farmers are preparing to collect bumper wheat harvests (see chart), which will help ease recent global grain shortages and balance rising prices after global food costs hit their highest level in nearly a decade, according to a Bloomberg report.

Spring rains hit the Black Sea region, the American Plains, and the European Union, boosting suppliers’ expectations for wheat. The staple crop is the first staple crop to be collected in the northern hemisphere, and the massive crops will help replenish granaries that have been emptied by rising demand in China and unfavorable weather in 2020.

Conditions for soft wheat in France, the largest producer in the European Union, are the best for this time since 2015. In the US, the expected yield in Kansas, if achieved, will be the highest ever in the case of the breadbasket, with well-timed rains in late of the season which enhances prospects.

Currently, some wheat-importing countries are sticking to cheaper prices. The report says the largest importer, Egypt, canceled its third order this year, and Saudi Arabia booked less supply for August and September than expected.

Cracking the green egg market

Next on the list of the $6.1 billion US egg industry is introducing eco-friendly eggs and recyclable cartons into food supply chains. Producers are turning to getting eggs from farms using regenerative farming, which applies special farming practices to grow rich soils that trap greenhouse gases.

These labeled organic, animal-friendly eggs are showing up on supermarket shelves for $8 per dozen while some traditional egg cartons still sell for less than $1. The industry is waiting to see if consumers are willing to pay more for the greener option.

It’s not just the eggs themselves that are getting greener. Packaging solutions provider Huhtamaki has launched Smilepack, a 100% plastic-free molded egg carton, in the US and Brazil. Cartons designed specifically for the egg industry provide a sustainable alternative to traditional polystyrene foam and plastic packaging.

The egg cartons are made from recovered fibers from recycled paper, which can be reused up to seven times. The cartons can be recycled with plain paper and can be composted. A large US producer and distributor of free-range eggs is already using Smilepack, which will eliminate approximately 4.6 million plastic egg cartons or 200 metric tons of plastic annually.

Agtech takes agriculture indoors

The indoor farming industry must run a complex supply chain in which products are traditionally grown in one location and shipped thousands of miles away, risking foodborne diseases, excessive emissions and bottlenecks. Agtech innovations that fuel the space include:

desert farms. AeroFarms has laid the foundation stone for the world’s largest vertical farming research center in the United Arab Emirates. The research center will help advance controlled ecological agriculture in arid and desert climates and address global agricultural supply chain issues. It is expected to be completed and operational in the first quarter of 2022.

More berries. California Giant Berry Farms and agricultural technology company OnePointOne partner to improve access to fresh berries. OnePointOne’s automated indoor farming technology improves crop quality and is closer to end consumers. It uses 99% less land and water than conventional farming and is 100% free of pesticides. OnePointOne will grow the berries on its robotic indoor farm. This data paves the way for improved nutrient density, taste, and availability, while reducing environmental impact.

The freshest greens. Indoor farming company BrightFarms recently invested millions to set up a new research center in Ohio. The company says its lettuce is healthier, tastier, and fresher than the field-grown produce brought in from the West Coast. The five greenhouses produce 9 million pounds of spinach, romaine, and watercress each year using a hydroponic system and natural sunlight. BrightOS, the company’s artificial intelligence system, collects millions of data points to simplify operations.

Farms in warehouses. Swedish vertical farming company Swegreen recently agreed to produce overly locally grown vegetables for ICA Focus with an automated growing system located inside a Gothenburg grocery store. The agriculture-as-a-service model enables food retailers and restaurants to offer consumers fresh crops year-round, harvested on site.

The company says the farm has a growing room, sensors, and an AI-based control system that improves the environment remotely.



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