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Ceres Imaging

Team Members: 

Robbie Bunge (PhD, AA), Ashwin Madgavkar (MBA/MS, GSB/E-IPER), Robert Heilmayr (PhD, E-IPER) and Prof. Peter Vitousek (Biology)

Ceres Imaging uses aerial spectral imagery to help farmers optimize water use and avoid excess application of nitrogen fertilization, which can cause unnecessary groundwater contamination, CO2 emissions, and unnecessary expense. Cameras that photograph both visible and invisible light are attached to crop dusters, other planes, or drones. Ceres' software processes the data and supplies farmers with actionable information in an affordable package.

The Innovation Transfer Grant supported the “Demeter” adaptation of the technology to help ranchers develop the best grazing plan based on available vegetation. The ranching application uses several different pieces of spectral information to calculate grass growth, grazing intensity, and water-retention capacity. The technology can be used to monitor and synchronize herd movement with natural rangeland recovery, which is the basis of holistic ranching. Pasture land accounts for 450 million acres in the United States and several billion acres globally. This represents a huge opportunity to save resources with an affordable service that could replace the energy intensive, inefficient, manual screening processes now used. Since receiving their TomKat Grant, Ceres has raised nearly $9 million in follow-on funding.

Read the Innovation Spotlight about Ceres Imaging

Learn more:

Oakland company uses aerial imaging to detect disease in crops before outbreak December 2017

Ceres Imaging Lands $5 Million in Series A Funding to Help Growers Manage Crops and Optimize Yield May 2017

CB Insights includes Ceres Imaging in its list of up-and-coming Ag Tech startups February 2017

Ceres Imaging named to 2017 Energy Excelerator cohort February 2017

Ceres cited in new Research and Markets report on the future of agricultural robotics January 2017

How Ceres Imaging won the Imagine H2O Challenge May 2016

Ceres Imaging wins Imagine H2O's Water Data Challenge March 2016

Levi’s ‘dirty jeans’ CEO asks leaders to embrace ‘wash less’ mantra March 2015

Silicon Valley meets America's salad bowl to create the farm of the future March 2015

"How to Be Smarter than Your Investor": The Example of Ceres Imaging February 2014