SemiosBio blight detection tech lands government cash

The government funding comes on the heels of an $8 million commitment from a high net worth group.

The Canadian government has committed C$949,322 ($743,629; €657,355) to precision agriculture company SemiosBio to develop disease-detecting technology.

The funding will help finance the development of a wireless monitoring system to uncover blight in speciality and permanent crops. The technology will focus on fire blight in apple orchards, and downy and powdery mildews on grape vineyards.

The investment comes a week after the company announced an $8 million raise from a group of high net worth individuals led by Brookfield Timberland managing partner Reid Carter.

The financing is intended to expand sales in its tree crop-focused pheromone-based pest management spray, which it says reduces the need for chemical pesticides by stopping moth pests from mating.

Carter told Agri Investor that by focusing on pheromones that penetrate dense-canopy orchards, his company sets itself apart from other precision agriculture companies.

SemiosBio chief executive Michael Gilbert said the company now has a wireless network of 50,000 sensors and a bank of data analytics.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation attributes 20 to 40 percent of reductions in global crop to plant pests and diseases. The need for technologies that reduce food loss is driving investor interest, agtech-focused GPs have previously told Agri Investor.