A Dorset-based cloud computing start-up that monitors farm productivity has raised £235,000 in Innovate UK funding, launched a recruitment app and expanded its software development team. It now plans to scale globally.
Cropdesk was founded by third generation blueberry farmer – and grandson to the UK’s first commercial blueberry farmer – David Trehane.
“When I took over the farm, harvest workers would write their name on a piece of cornflake packet and stick it to the box they picked,” says David. “That’s the level of data we were gathering. Our sole metric for whether we had a good season was our bank balance.”
Using his background in cloud computing, David built a solution that would measure worker’s picking speeds, track the productivity of berry varieties and predict yield by analysing climate data.
“Supermarkets want to know what supply they can expect on a daily, weekly, seasonal basis. Before I developed my own technology, I was just guessing here.”
To commercialise his technology, David began work with Innovate UK EDGE and joined its Global Business Innovation Programme, including a funded visit to an international Agri-Tech conference in Melbourne, Australia.
“I came back from Australia completely refreshed and refocused, having identified key challenges in finding good seasonal workers.”