Picketa expands to help farmers in 13 US states analyze plant tissue

Picketa's flagship offering can now analyze corn, a key crop for US farmers.

Fredericton-based AgTech startup Picketa Systems is expanding its real-time plant tissue analysis technology into the United States (US).

Picketa said its US expansion “coincides with a significant funding round from internal stakeholders.”

Picketa says its flagship offering, the Leaf Evaluated Nutrient System (LENS), will be used in 13 US states during the 2024 farming season, including California, Utah, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Mississippi. Initially designed for potato analysis, LENS’ capabilities have grown to also analyze corn, a cornerstone crop for many US farmers. 

“Our team is thrilled to witness the widespread adoption of the LENS, first in potatoes and now in corn,” Picketa CEO Xavier Hébert-Couturier said in a statement. “We believe that the LENS is not just an innovative technology but the ultimate crop management strategy.”

Tissue testing allows farmers to gain insight into how their crops are absorbing and using nutrients, a manual process that the startup says is time-consuming. The traditional method sees workers retrieve samples from at least 20 different locations in a farmer’s field, collect the leaves of each plant, and send them to a laboratory.

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The LENS, which contains testing instruments and a small screen in a hardcover case, cuts out the need for a third-party laboratory. It gives users the testing hardware needed to analyze crop tissues and compare them to a global database of crop conditions gathered from thousands of plants at different growth stages. 

Picketa’s offering works in the area of precision agriculture, which refers to a farming strategy that monitors variability in crop fields through technology, and aims to reduce nitrous oxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions. 

Founded in 2020, Picketa’s offering is currently used in seven Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Aberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Picketa said its US expansion “coincides with a significant funding round from internal stakeholders” and that it plans to expand the range of crops LENS can analyze. Picketa declined to provide any details on the funding round. 

The startup raised a $1.4-million seed round last year led by The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation with participation from a number of investors that focus on the agricultural sector including Tall Grass Ventures, Emmertech, and Koan Capital. 

Feature image courtesy Picketa. 

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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