Indigo Ag is evolving and expanding its Indigo Partner program into the Indigo Research Partners program, which today includes 50 U.S. farmers with an average of 10,000 acres in their farming operation.
Indigo Research Partners aggregates data from across the entire farm of each Research Partner, and it also focuses 500 acres on each farm to specific field research.
“This is Indigo’s attempt to understand the truth of what value a technology or farming practice brings to the profitability of the farm and what impact it has on the environment,” says Barry Knight, head of Indigo Research Partners at Indigo.
Knight says the company is currently collecting a trillion data points every day and explains that across those 500-acre plots specifically, the company is assessing six different soil sensors, three telemetry devices, four drone-mounted cameras, four satellite constellations, and two weather stations. In another example, Knight says the company is evaluating four soybean varieties and five microbial treatments in a test plot.
“We will aggregate all of our data to do assessments at the season end, but we also want to learn in real-time,” he says. “This isn’t a marketing arm for our company. We are agnostic in our approach to research these products and practices—we won’t compromise our goal of knowing how products and practices affect farmer profitability and the environment.”
The Indigo Research Partners program has five operation hubs in Ohio, Indiana, Memphis, Kansas and Iowa. The company is focusing on five crops: corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice.
Knight says the program will continue to grow. “Our company is continuing to make natural products using bacteria and fungi that do good things for our customers. This fall, we’ll launch the Partner program in wheat. In the fourth quarter, we’ll launch our partner program internationally, and next year we are looking to add 50 more farmers in the U.S.,” he says.
He also explains the company aims to provide its program as a resource to other startups in agriculture.
“This is an open platform for research, and we think the more opportunity for smart startups to do research, the more opportunity for farmers to learn and profit,” Knight says.