Rezatec provides AHDB with innovative geospatial data analytics to map true extent of potato crops across the UK.

Harwell, Oxfordshire, 2nd October 2018 – Rezatec, the leading provider of geospatial data analytics to the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors, has been working with The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), to demonstrate the effectiveness of using satellite data to map the extent of potato crops in pilot locations across England and Scotland.

AHDB is the UK’s statutory levy board funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Its purpose is to inspire farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. The assessment of innovative technologies that can enable its vision is an important focus for AHDB and this project aims to evaluate the use of satellite data.

Looking at four sites spread across the UK, Rezatec applied its proven crop identification techniques to map locations of potato crops, down to individual fields, some of which just a few hundred square meters in size. A crop health map was then generated to highlight the extent and abundance of each potato field. This enables AHDB to better understand production areas of potatoes in the UK from season to season at a micro level.

Rezatec applies its geospatial data techniques to extract specific spectral indices across the growth cycle to create a signature that identifies the crop, using both optical and radar satellite data sources. By applying its in-house machine learning algorithms to these indices, Rezatec can distinguish potato from other crop types with up to 95% accuracy.

Additionally, through active remote sensing monitoring, Rezatec can also assess variables of crop performance, e.g. health, against the crop model through the growing season, and, using its data science techniques provide growers with critical information to take corrective action and ultimately increase crop yields.

Dr Jim Dimmock, Resource Management Scientist at AHDB summarised: “It is evident from our collaboration with Rezatec that the application of satellite data for mapping crop extent is of great value and compared to more traditional methods, we were impressed by the ability to scale across large areas with high levels of accuracy.”

Dr Andrew Carrel, Chief Technology Officer at Rezatec commented: “Rezatec’s agriculture management services are very versatile, ranging from identifying crops at a field, and even sub-field level, and monitoring crop performance, up to macro-level analytics to support commodity crop trading for multiple end-users including Government and traders.”

Rezatec provides its agricultural management services around the world to a wide range of agricultural end-users from sugar cane and wheat farmers in Mexico to dairy farmers in the UK.

Funding

Rezatec completes follow-on investment led by Harbert European Growth Capital to underpin continued global expansion

World-leading geospatial data analytics company Rezatec has announced a follow-on investment to its 2018 £2m Seed Round equity financing round, with Harbert European Growth Capital now providing a substantial growth debt facility to the Company.  This new facility will lend additional financial support to Rezatec as it continues its rapid rate of new customer acquisition across North America, Africa and Asia Pacific. Rezatec is seeing particularly strong demand for its geospatial data analytics in the Forestry, Infrastructure and Water sectors worldwide. This financing round follows on from a financial year that saw Rezatec subscription revenues grow by 7x from Q1 FY18 to Q4 FY18.

Rezatec plans to significantly expand its portfolio of proprietary geospatial technologies in the coming months. This expansion of Rezatec data science, machine learning and software tools will serve to meet new customer demand in existing vertical markets and beyond. The Company anticipates completing a substantial Series A transaction in the period ahead to finance this expansion of the business and its operations.

Patrick Newton, Chief Executive Officer at Rezatec stated, “We are very pleased to have secured the support of Harbert in building the Rezatec business. Their focus on high growth, innovative technology companies makes them an ideal fit for our business.”

Fahad Khan, Vice President at Harbert European Growth Capital said “We are delighted to partner with Rezatec’s strong management team and give them a global network in addition to capital to help support their growth ambitions. We are pleased to bring our close relationships within the European and American technology sector and welcome Rezatec to a portfolio of over 70 high growth companies”.

Rezatec delivers accurate, cost-efficient, highly valuable and scalable satellite data analytics to optimise the use of natural and man-made assets in the Forestry, Water, Agriculture and Infrastructure sectors.

Mobile app helping Mexican farmers improve sugar cane and wheat yield through the analysis of satellite data

Rezatec has launched a new mobile application aimed at helping Mexican farmers improve crop productivity and stabilise their incomes to facilitate rural community economic development under the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

Wheat farming in the Yaqui Valley is at the forefront of new technologies for wheat compared to other parts of the developing world, however, the area was hit by a fungal disease (Karnal bunt), and export profits suffered. The effect from droughts from 1996 to 2004, also contributed to an overall fall in income from agriculture in the Valley of 40%. Average wheat yields are currently around 6.2 tonnes per hectare, with considerable variability from year to year. Annual profits from wheat production in the Valley varied by 60% per tonne from 2009 to 2017, with a steady rise in the total cost of production over time. Better management practices by smallholder farmers for nitrogen application, irrigation and weeds would help to improve yields and productivity.

The sugarcane industry currently generates more than 930,000 direct jobs and employs another 2.2 million people indirectly, contributing a total of around US$2.5 billion a year to the Mexican economy. The average yield is currently close to 70 tonnes of cane per hectare however smallholder farmers have below average productivity partly because they have not adopted modern methods of agriculture. They are also threatened by drought (especially because of under-developed irrigation infrastructure), pests, disease and weeds.

The overall challenge for both the wheat & sugarcane sectors is to transform both traditional extensive as well as modern intensive systems into sustainable systems producing more crop output with better use of resources and this requires better management of the interacting parameters controlling yield.

In response to these challenges, Rezatec has now launched a free mobile application ‘COMPASS V1.0’ (Crop Observation, Management and Production Analysis Service System) aimed at helping wheat and sugarcane smallholder farmers in Mexico, benefit from using Earth Observation (EO) satellite data with in field measurements to reduce production costs and increase crop yields. The ultimate aim is to ensure that farmer incomes become more stable, and therefore directly benefit farming families and rural communities, as well as addressing potential environmental issues.

Mexican COMPASS, is a four-year project launched in December 2016 under the UK Space Agency’s lnternational Partnership Programme (IPP), which aims to address real issues faced by emerging economies using satellite solutions whose outputs lead to a measurable and sustainable economic or societal benefit.

Ray Fielding, Head of IPP stated that “The UK Space Agency is delighted to be working with Rezatec on the Mexican Crop Observation, Management and Production Analysis Service System (COMPASS) project under our lnternational Partnership Programme. The release of this application will provide decision support tools to help Mexican farmers and smallholders to improve their crop management of wheat and sugarcane so that income stability is improved, thereby providing economic and societal benefit.”

Under the project, Rezatec has partnered in the UK with the University of Nottingham, supported by Booker Tate, and in Mexico, with CIMMYT (International Maize & Wheat Improvement Center) and MASCAÑA sugarcane research group from COLPOS (Colegio De Postgraduados).

Andrew Carrel, Chief Technical Officer, Rezatec commented, “Rezatec is excited to be part of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, contributing our Earth Observation and Data Science technology to enable positive social, economic and environmental change in Mexico. We look forward to building on the success of this project to help other farming communities around the world.”

The project aims to target at least 1,200 farmers in Mexico during the project, with initially 38 farmers currently engaged and providing invaluable field data via the new mobile app which will be freely available to farmers.  The app will provide a portal for farmers to submit crucial information about their farming activities (such as sowing date, crop type and irrigation) and in return receive free recommendations as to when to undertake such activities in the future to maximum yield, as well as yield predictions.

Javier, one of the wheat farmers currently using the mobile app. said “The COMPASS App v1.0 is going to help me have all the management information from my fields handy and having the app. In the future advising on an optimum irrigation schedule to maximise my yield will be a huge benefit”.

Recently, the project was presented to the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture – SAGARPA, SIAP and INIFAP – and received very positive feedback, as well as offers of support from Government bodies to potentially extend the initiative for wheat and sugarcane farmers nationwide.

The services developed in the project will be sustainable after the funding from the IPP programme ceases through a fee-based subscription model whereby commercial companies, processors, government agencies and crop insurance providers will pay for enhanced datasets, aggregated data and more detailed analysis than the basic free data which is made available to smallholders.

The proven Mexican COMPASS model will be extended to other developing countries growing wheat and sugar cane to increase the viability and returns from using earth observation data to support smallholder farmers.

To find out more about the Compass project, click below.

COMPASS Project Showcase Page

New Satellite Applications Case Study on Rezatec

‘Space aids peatland management’, Mineral Planning, February 2015

Earth observation is increasingly being used as innovative method of mapping and monitoring the health of peatlands, and is more cost-effective than manual mapping, writes Philip Briscoe.

Download a brief version of the article here, or to read the full article, visit mineralplanning.co.ukclick on login and subscribe to a month’s free trial to Mineral Planning.  

‘The view from above’, The Environmentalist, December 2014

Rezatec is featured in the December edition of The Environmentalist: “The view from above”.

Download the article here.

Earth Observation data service provides valuable support for a sustainable biomass industry

Business-led consortium addresses biomass ‘carbon impact’ issue

Biomass and bioenergy firms required to certify the origin and sustainability of wood biomass will now have access to more accurate data to support certification thanks to a new project involving Rezatec, a UK-based provider of remote-sensing based environmental data products.

Rezatec has developed a data service that extracts carbon estimates from high-resolution satellite imagery, or Earth Observation (EO) data. This service is designed to accurately measure the carbon impact of producing biomass from forests over extended periods of time.

A business-led consortium involving Rezatec, Drax, E4tech (project lead), and the University of Edinburgh has embarked on a nine-month project to help develop a service that will improve the commercial development of the biomass/energy industry, allowing businesses to prove compliance with sustainability criteria.

Forest carbon estimates

The project will assess the environmental impact of Drax’s wood pellet production from forest feedstock in North America. Using Rezatec’s methodology, optical, RADAR and LiDAR data will be linked with a dynamic tree growth model to help determine forestry carbon estimates.

Patrick Newton, CEO for Rezatec commented: “This pioneering project has the potential to change the future of the biomass and bioenergy industries by overcoming the challenges of obtaining cost-effective and accurate datasets to support sustainable obligations linked to forest biomass feedstock.”

“Working with businesses such as Drax allows us to help verify its carbon impact on the environment of biomass extraction and the positive work it is undertaking to ensure compliance. “This project can be used as a blueprint for sustainable biomass production around the world,” he added.

Nigel Burdett, Head of Environment for Drax said: “Drax Power will only purchase biomass that can be proven to be sustainably produced in accordance with our sustainability policy, and that exceeds thresholds set by the UK Regulatory Authority (Ofgem) for subsidy support.”

“We’re aiming to be the benchmark for knowledge around determining the temporal carbon flow consequences of biomass for energy. This will allow us to contribute positively towards a more ecologically sound environment as well as deliver on energy output requirements,” he continued.

“The use of environmental datasets, which includes accurate, high-resolution, time-based satellite imagery, helps address a specific business issue in the energy sector. As part of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climage Change Renewables Obligation, Drax is required to report on key aspects of biomass supply chains, to ensure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate sustainability.”

Dr Ausilio Bauen, Director of E4tech commented: “E4tech initiated this project as we believe Earth Observation data will be important in determining and monitoring the sustainability of biomass for energy.”

“Together with Rezatec, Drax and the University of Edinburgh we are developing a service that will be critical to the biomass industry in demonstrating its environmental credentials and possibly other sectors”, he added.

Rezatec collaborates with Ecover to map Mallorca bio-economy

Glocal project deploys earth observation (EO) technologies to map natural resources and land use on Balearic island

Rezatec, a provider of satellite based environmental data products and services, has been helping Ecover, the global manufacturer and seller of green cleaning products, with their Glocal project in Mallorca to experiment with a new business model and learn about the potential of the bio-economy.

Ecover is running Glocal in partnership with sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, the University of Barcelona, Daniel Wahl and other stakeholders on Mallorca. The first phase is to explore the local production of cleaning products using only waste derived from locally available agricultural activity.

A key first step is to understand what is grown and in what abundance on the island. Rezatec is helping to achieve this by providing detailed land use maps to determine where different crops, such as citrus plantations and olive groves, can be found on the island using high-resolution EO data, obtained from satellite imagery and calibrated with other data sets available including ground-based observations. The data can then be analysed to identify the amount of cultivated land, the variety of crops, their density and, longer-term, the suitability of potential sites for production based on the appropriateness of natural waste sources for the manufacturing of cleaning products or other bio-materials.

Project data support

The Satellite Applications Catapult, an independent innovation technology company that also forms part Oxfordshire’s Harwell Space Cluster, will provide additional support by storing, processing and managing Rezatec’s project data at its Climate, Environment and Monitoring from Space (CEMS) facility. This purpose-built facility offers space-based climate change and EO data and services.

Philip Briscoe, Marketing Director, Rezatec said: “In effect what we’re doing in Mallorca is mapping its bio-economy using earth observation technologies. This has huge potential benefits for much larger ecosystems. In fact, a project such as this could be applied to a whole country. Our techniques help us to understand agricultural waste streams. This can help identify where waste can be transformed and used to create new products, which has the potential to benefit whole industries, livelihoods and wider economies.”

Tom Domen, Long Term Innovation Manager, Ecover said: “Glocal is helping us envision a model in which Ecover goes beyond producing and distributing globally to become a knowledge centre and a catalyst for local production and local businesses”.

Hugh Knowles, Principal Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future said: “When faced with an uncertain future and a range of complex challenges the most resilient businesses will be those that are willing to innovate and pilot radically different approaches…this way we can learn what a sustainable future might look like.”

The land use mapping techniques used by Rezatec in this project can also be applied at a regional and national level to create longer-term sustainable bio-economies.