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New tech brings precision, automation to soil sampling

Holly Spangler Precision Planting prototype soil sampling machine
NEW SOIL SAMPLER: You can’t buy or lease this machine yet. It’s a prototype. But Precision Planting believes this may be the next step toward pulling soil samples more efficiently.
Hi-Tech Farming: Company is focusing attention on a key piece of the fertilizer input puzzle: soil tests.

Automatic soil probes and autonomous robotic soil samplers already exist. Yet efforts to find efficient ways to sample soils are increasing. Precision Planting unveiled Radicle Agronomics recently. It includes GeoPress for packaging soil samples in the field, geotagging to identify samples through RFID technology and Radicle Lab, a freestanding soil sampling unit that processes a soil sample every five minutes on its own. It delivers results for pH, buffer pH, phosphorus and potassium.

This new suite of products isn’t a reaction to historic fertilizer prices. It’s just perfect timing. Development started six years ago. And there’s more innovation in the pipeline. Precision Planting is testing a prototype resembling a one-shank V ripper that pulls soil cores, eliminating the need for someone to physically pull cores. Learn about Radicle Agronomics at

New biopesticide registered

NewLeaf Symbiotics announced that EPA registered TS201, a biopesticide that mitigates corn rootworm feeding damage. Allison Jack, product technical director, says TS201 culminates several years of research. The company will move forward with large-scale commercial trials with growers and partners in 2023.

TS201 will be marketed under the Terrasym brand, which includes Terrasym 401 for soybeans and Terrasym 450 for corn. Like those products, TS201 will be a planter-box treatment, ideal for those not set up to apply insecticides at planting. The newly registered product uses a unique strain of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria known as PPFMs. Visit

Pest detection technology

If terms like data science and computer vision solutions grab your attention, information about a new approach to identifying pests and diseases in very early stages should be of interest. Fermata introduces Croptimus, a computer software platform that features 360-degree views of the vegetative canopy. The current application is for greenhouses and indoor farms. Cultivatd, a company serving that industry, will distribute the new pest detection system.

Croptimus uses computer vision to identify pests and diseases precisely across many crops, including tomatoes and leafy greens. It can detect pest threats well before a serious problem develops.

What’s the neatest part? Spokespersons say performance improves over time through machine learning. The machine gets smarter. A team of Integrated Pest Management experts backs up the machine, checking results and fine-tuning algorithms. Visit

High-tech grain marketing info

Technology is changing how you can get information about grain marketing. The Andersons introduced AgConnect, a mobile app for Android and iPhone devices. Users can access real-time information on much more than market news. View scale tickets, check futures, track grain contracts and much more.

So far, it’s available for The Andersons customers in Idaho, Colorado, Louisiana and New York. It’s powered by software from Bushel, the Fargo, N.D., software company focused on the grain industry. Visit

More about biocontrols

Novozymes made two key moves recently. First, the biotech solutions company joined forces with Biotalys to expand opportunities for Evoca, Biotalys’ first proprietary biocontrol. Evoca, awaiting EPA approval, controls fungal diseases in fruits and vegetables.

Next, Novozymes announced it is joining with Certis Biologicals to develop controls for fungal pathogens in corn and soybeans. Certis Biologicals offers several biofungicides. EPA registered Novozymes’ LCO Promoter technologies. These two companies conducted field trials across the Midwest in 2022, with results expected soon. Visit

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