By Jean-Paul McDonald
GROWMARK Inc. is embarking on a groundbreaking journey with InnerPlant to pilot InnerSoy, the world’s first soybean fungal sensor. This cutting-edge technology enables soybeans to send optical signals when under stress, such as from fungal attacks or nutritional shortages. These signals can be detected using specialized tools like drones or satellites, offering farmers an early warning system to protect their crops.
In 2024, GROWMARK will establish small InnerSoy plots in the Midwest. Over the next three years, these plots will expand and serve as early indicators of fungal infestation in soybeans. The data from these plots will feed into InnerPlant’s machine-learning algorithms, improving agronomic insights to enhance crop performance and protection.
GROWMARK COO, Wade Mittelstadt, emphasizes the high risks farmers face annually. This pilot project grants GROWMARK and its FS cooperatives early access to InnerPlant’s innovative technology, aimed at better managing crop health risks. Dr. Jeff Bunting, VP of crop protection at GROWMARK, is eager to delve deeper into how InnerPlant’s technology can provide vital information for early disease mitigation.
Serving nearly 400,000 customers in North America, GROWMARK specializes in a variety of services, including agronomy, energy, facility engineering, construction, logistics, grain marketing, and risk management.
Based in Bloomington, Illinois, the cooperative is known for owning the FS trademark used by its member cooperatives. GROWMARK’s initiative with InnerSoy marks a significant step forward in agricultural technology and service provision.