N-Sense, an Ames-based startup that is developing a soil nitrate sensor system for on-the-go nitrogen management, has received a $50,000 investment from Ag Startup Engine.
Founded in 2017, N-Sense’s soil nitrate sensor system can be attached to farm implements and used to determine in-real-time on-the-go soil nitrate concentrations with enough accuracy to facilitate precision application of nitrogen fertilizers.
“We are delighted to partner with Ag Startup Engine to develop and commercialize this Iowa State University technology,” said N-Sense President David Laird in a release. “From the outset, the University recognized its value to row crop agriculture and sponsored the early investments needed to prove the concept and patent the technologies. Using NSF and private funds, we are advancing precision nitrogen fertilizer management to the next level, integrating direct sensing of soil nitrate and both terrain and soil analyses to optimize the application of nitrogen fertilizers across fields. Our technology will make precision sidedress fertilizer applications both practical and profitable for farmers. Our commercial units will reduce overfertilization thereby improving both farm economics and water quality in our lakes and streams.”
“Ag Startup Engine believes that N-Sense’s innovative technology will create value for crop producers and be a valuable addition to its portfolio. “We are pleased to have N-Sense join the Ag Startup Engine portfolio and community,” said Kevin Kimle, co-director of Ag Startup Engine. “Precision technology for nitrogen application will be an important step in better crop input management and soil health outcomes.
Ag Startup Engine was launched four years ago to help address two fundamental gaps that prevent agricultural startups and entrepreneurs from being more successful: early seed-stage investment and organized mentorship from successful entrepreneurs. With the program’s second fund, their goal is to accept and invest in 45 agriculture and animal health startups in the next five years. To date, the organization has invested in 22 companies.