Newland Syndicate
3 min readMar 14, 2024

--

Announcing our investment in Messium, a pioneer in the use of hyperspectral imaging to solve nitrogen fertiliser overapplication, supporting hundreds of thousands of wheat farms across the world.

The problem Messium is solving for farmers

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient in fertilisers, accounting for 54% of total fertiliser consumption, and is the biggest tool with which farmers can boost their yields and profitability. Despite that, it remains difficult for farmers or agronomists to calculate the right nitrogen dosage during the growing season. As a consequence, roughly half of the fertiliser applied on crops, worth approximately $114bn, leaches into the soil every year as a result of suboptimal dosing and application.

The average wheat crop requires 230 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare per season to achieve the optimal nitrogen concentration of 2.1%. However, research shows that only 50% of wheat crops have nitrogen concentrations close to the average recommended rate, leading to high opportunity costs to farmers in the form of lower yields and profitability.

Today, the only accurate solution to determine crop nitrogen levels are laboratory tests that are too time-consuming and expensive for farmers to employ regularly. Other alternatives, such as NDVI satellite imaging, hand-held sensors or drones, either lack the required accuracy to provide value to farmers or are impractical to be deployed at scale.

Messium leverages novel hyperspectral satellite imaging with 5x5m squared resolution, to accurately tell farmers how much nitrogen to apply in which field, enabling savings on fertiliser costs of over $40 per hectare per year.

“Farmers face a conundrum when it comes to optimising ferlitiser application in their farms: either opt for laboratory tests — precise, expensive and non-scalable — or for technologies such as satellite-based NDVI that unfortunately don’t provide the required accuracy to materially improve decision-making. Through our pioneering work with novel hyperspectral imagery, Messium is the first company to provide lab-comparable nitrogen insights at scale.

We are excited to partner with Newland and their unique network of sector experts, which will greatly help Messium achieve our global objectives.” — George Marangos-Gilks, Co-founder & CEO

Proven founders, rare technical capabilities

Messium’s founders, George Marangos-Gilks and Vishal Soomaney Vijaykumar, have collectively founded 3 and exited 2 highly successful firms and are backed by a very capable team. Messium’s CTO and technical team, as well as two of Newland’s domain experts, are part of a small community who have expertise in leveraging hyperspectral datasets to unlock non-visible crop insights.

Strong traction and a clear path forward

During 2024, Messium will be conducting large-scale trials worldwide to prepare for its market entry, which will be done in partnership with some of the world’s leading agri-groups. Messium has also secured grants from the European Space Agency and from the UK Space Agency and has a strong grant funding pipeline expected throughout the rest of the year.

At Newland, we are looking forward to seeing Messium’s plug-and-play solution rapidly scale amongst the farming community and play an integral role in improving the profitability of farmers and the environmental sustainability of their farmland.

LinkedIn Website

--

--

Newland Syndicate
0 Followers

Operator-investors in Food & AgTech. Pre-seed and seed stage.