Breaking Down the InnerPlant + GROWMARK Sentinel Project
InnerPlant + GROWMARK Launch Sentinel Project Featuring Soybean Engineered to Signal Optically When Stressed - Webwire
InnerPlant, the seed technology company enabling the earliest possible detection of stress in crops to make farming more efficient and sustainable, and GROWMARK, an agricultural cooperative serving almost 400,000 customers across North America, today announce the launch of a sentinel project featuring InnerSoy, a soybean engineered to signal optically when under attack by fungi.
Three weeks ago, I broke down the news of *InnerPlant, John Deere Expand Ecosystem to Include Syngenta, Focusing on the Evolution towards Plant by Plant Disease Management, highlighting the expanding ecosystem collaboration.
Then, last week, I analyzed InnerPlant’s ecosystem strategy using concepts from Ron Adner’s book The Wide Lens in Ecosystem Innovation Through the Lens of InnerPlant.
In both write-ups I highlighted InnerPlant’s future collaborative opportunities with distributors and retailers, with an emphasis on the opportunity to manage adoption chain risk long-term for InnerPlant:
Part of this adoption chain is the input manufacturer, but we know one of the most prominent detractors, or enablers, of any innovation is the retailer.
Suppose there is a crucial player at any point of the value chain that does not understand, derive a benefit, or has something to lose from the innovation coming to fruition that needs to be managed. We can see from the below example that there can be an immense benefit at all points in the value chain, except one, and the innovation fails. Whereas, if we see a minor benefit at all points in the value chain, we can see positive utilization of the innovation.
This leads us to see that future collaborators include retailers, distributors, or both. These collaborators will ensure that farmers reap meaningful benefits from the InnerPlant technology when it is commercialized and successfully leverages the innovation ecosystem.
This week, InnerPlant moved in this direction with GROWMARK.
The program will see GROWMARK establish small plots of InnerSoy throughout the Midwest in 2024 with an expanded number of plots over the next three years. The plots will act as “sentinels” to provide early warning of fungal infestation and help refine InnerPlant’s initial go-to-market strategy.
The approach is astute for both parties and is grounded in efforts from the USDA, The Value of Plant Disease Early-Warning Systems, where “sentinel” plots were planted across the United States and inspected regularly to provide early detection of soybean rust infection and then uploaded to a website to disperse the information, done in 2005:
We estimate that the information provided by the framework increased U.S. soybean producers’ profits by a total of $11-$299 million in 2005, or between 16 cents and $4.12 per acre.
By monitoring disease risks in tight intervals using these sentinel plots, farmers were able to make proactive fungicide application decisions.
The GROWMARK and InnerPlant collaboration is a tech-forward enhancement on the 2005 initiative that should deliver even more effective insight to not just farmers but the entire GROWMARK network regarding soybeans. InnerPlant’s trait technology will be able to deliver earlier and more precise detection of disease incidence, independent of visual symptoms.