Fredericton-based Picketa Systems, maker of the LENS hardware and software suite for analyzing plant tissues, has launched its product in 13 American states, mostly in the country’s bread basket region.

Initially designed for use on potato crops, with support for corn added recently, LENS has been in use by farmers since last year. In a statement, the company said the addition was motivated by corn’s status as a favoured crop of U.S. farmers — an opportunity made doubly appealing by Picketa’s market research showing that many corn farmers do not perform any tests to measure for crop health during the growing season.

South of the border, Picketa is now available in California, Utah, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Mississippi. In Canada, LENS is sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

“This expansion into the United States coincides with a significant funding round from internal stakeholders, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to the company’s mission,” said Picketa in a statement.

“With this support, Picketa Systems is positioned to extend its reach to even more farmers and agronomists across the country.”

Founded in 2020 and led by CEO Xavier Hébert-Couturier, Picketa will sell its system in the U.S. via agronomists, crop consultants, retailers, co-ops, and input and seed companies.

LENS stands for Leaf Evaluated-Nutrient System — a data-collection tool that allows agricultural professionals to perform plant tissue analysis in real-time. Agricultural personnel can check the health of a crop while they’re in the field, as measured by the amounts of 13 key nutrients present in the plant tissue, rather than sending samples to a lab and then waiting days for the results.

The push into the American market comes after Picketa last year raised $1.4 million from a group of investors led by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Also participating in the round were: Calgary-based agtech venture capital funds Tall Grass Ventures and Koan Capital; and Montreal’s Desjardins Group, which is the largest federation of credit unions in North America and has a sizeable business providing services to the agricultural sector. Members of two angel groups, Mariner Partners’ East Valley Ventures and Alberta-based Startup TNT, also invested.

“With instant access to this data, agronomists can now implement the proactive management strategies used in high-value crops like potatoes to precisely manage row crops such as corn,” said Hébert-Couturier in a statement. “This presents a huge opportunity to enhance crop yields and fertilizer efficiency.

“We've heard from countless farmers that the current challenges in collecting this data often result in reliance on visual cues rather than nutrient data, leading to missed opportunities for timely adjustments during the growing season."