Farmeye, a Roscommon-based ag-tech firm, has signed an innovation contract with the European Space Agency.
The project sets out to measure hedgerow carbon and habitat value using a range of space assets, including satellite imagery.
Dr Eoghan Finneran, CEO of Farmeye, an award-winning provider of digital soil management systems, explained what the project entails.
“We all know the focus on carbon sequestration and habitats at a farm level.”
“However, accurate and scalable measurement of these features will be essential to farmers to mitigate their impacts of production.”
“We choose hedgerows as the focus for this project as they are a dominant but undervalued feature of Western European farms.”
He said that is particularly the case in Ireland, where they cover 6% of the land area.
“Yet, farmers are not given any credit for the biodiversity and carbon sequestration value of these hedges and treelines.”
How will it work?
The project uses a range of techniques to estimate the size, structure and characteristics of hedgerows.
It is a combination of ground measurements with satellite imagery.
Ultimately, it will build a dataset that will allow Farmeye to create an automated model that can monitor hedgerows nationally and continuously and provide tangible measurements about hedgerow value.
The leader of the bid and co-founder of Farmeye, Brendan Allen, said: “Farmeye are always looking to stay at the frontier of agri-tech innovations.”
“So, when this opportunity from ESA arose, we knew it could help us achieve this ambition.”
“We are delighted that ESA will support this work heralding a significant milestone for Farmeye and agri-tech in general.”
‘Very feasible and affordable’
Joe Desbonnet, co-founder and head of technology in Farmeye, added:
“Technology has advanced hugely in this field (excuse the pun) in the last decade, to the point where the type of model we are developing here is very feasible and affordable.”
Dr Eoghan Finneran said: “Ultimately, it will benefit farmers first and foremost.”
“It will also contribute to increasing carbon stocks and biodiversity on farms. We have been working for over four years now with Ireland’s most prominent agri-corporates on soil health programmes and have been using digitalisation as a powerful tool to manage farm-level data. This is just the next phase of our development, and we are delighted to be involved with ESA Space Solutions.”
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA Space Solutions is ESA’s commercial arm, which focuses on supporting companies in creating commercially sustainable services that use space data and technology.
Towards the end of 2020, ESA Space Solutions announced its Responsible AgriTech Kick-start initiative to invite proposals for studies assessing the viability of commercial services that would address challenges in the sector using space assets.
Farmeye responded to the call and went through a competitive process to win the innovation contract.
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