Growing up on a farm gives you a different perspective on things- from the day you were born, you were part of the process, you saw the effects of crop disease, and how difficult farm life really is. This is what inspired John McElhone and Micheál McLaughlin to start CropSafe.

Along with being passionate about farming, the two also have a love for technology, and began attending hackathons- being the youngest guests by about 10 years! They saw this as an advantage though, a way to get into the industry early.

John and Micheál are both first-hand witnesses to crop disease, and after further research, they came to find out that over £365 billion is lost globally each year due to the damage that disease does to crops.

While still in St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, the two invented this AI- and satellite-based farming solution. The application, CropSafe, uses satellite images to detect disease in crops.

For example, sugar beet fields are prone to mildew and rust disease. CropSafe’s app raises awareness of abnormalities in the crop. This means that farmers can pinpoint their sprays and use them less, to benefit the ecology and the economics of the farming business.

By using machine learning algorithms, CropSafe continually improves its ability to detect disease, making the application more and more specific each time. Who knows what CropSafe will develop into in the future!

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