CropTide is a New Zealand-based startup that is redefining plant hydration and crop irrigation. CEO Hamish Penny and his co-founder created CropTide during a university project that aimed to kill weeds with electricity.
This sparked a deep interest in plant science and led to the development of CropTide, which offers a solution for efficient and sustainable agriculture. CropTide's innovative technology involves a tiny device that plugs into the stem of plants to monitor their water status, aiding in efficient irrigation which Penny explains to REX host Dom George.
"You can see, rather than sort of looking at soil moisture or weather and trying to estimate when the plants might be stressed, based on sort of secondary measurements, you can actually just get the plant to tell you directly exactly when it's starting to get stressed," he says.
The company has made significant strides, securing funding from Silicon Valley investor, Ubiquity Ventures, and launching commercial pilots. They have also fostered strategic partnerships with leading New Zealand companies such as Zespri, TNG, Cloudy Bay, and Villa Maria, which Penny attributes to their accelerated progress.
Speaking about the future of CropTide, Penny emphasises their commitment to addressing the global water crisis by making agriculture more water-efficient.
"We see water as likely the biggest geopolitical issue that humanity is going to face this century, so it's a global problem.
"Obviously, agriculture is a really massive user of water, so if we can make a difference and help growers get the best from every drop, then that's something we want to roll out as a global solution as widely as possible to make the biggest impact."
As the company starts to make its product available more widely, they're already receiving positive feedback from growers.
"They know that they can be better. They desperately want to be better. They've set really ambitious sustainability goals around water efficiency, but also, you know, they always aim for crop quality and yield.
"So, yeah, just resoundingly positive and just wanting to have it as soon as they can."
With CropTide, a new era of efficient and sustainable farming may be on the horizon.
Listen to the full chat between Hamish Penny and Dominic George above.