InnerPlant, John Deere Expand Ecosystem to Include Syngenta, Focusing on the Evolution towards Plant by Plant Disease Management
New ecosystem collaboration sets out to change how plant disease is managed
InnerPlant, the seed technology company enabling the earliest possible detection of stress in crops to make farming universally more efficient and sustainable, Syngenta, a global leader in agricultural innovation and crop protection, and John Deere, a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment, today announce a joint effort to develop an integrated solution to fight fungus in soybeans. The first-of-its-kind solution will link together plants that give off early and specific signals when under attack by fungus with optimized crop protection treatments that are delivered with See & Spray technology.
Source: Web Wire
What does the announcement mean?
Why is this important?
For John Deere
Can this collaboration work and add value to the industry? Will it work from a first-principles agronomic perspective?
Will there be future additions to the ecosystem?
Last September, John Deere announced it was leading the *InnerPlant Series A Investment, a company developing genetically engineered soybeans that elicit unique biosignals when they experience specific stressors, such as fungal pressure or insect feeding.
InnerPlant’s trait technology platform allows remote sensors, such as satellites, to interpret what a plant is experiencing and when. This ability to take action more proactively and precisely enables better outcomes for farmers (view the InnerPlant patent application here).
In March of 2023, InnerPlant and Satellogic announced a collaboration to launch a satellite with sensors capable of interpreting InnerPlant signals.
With the investment from Deere in 2022, it became clear that Deere's goal was to bring sensor capability beyond satellites and directly into the field. Deere would equip its sprayers with the ability to accept signals from the InnerPlant trait, augmenting its mission for See and Spray capabilities and plant-by-plant management.
This week, the collaboration between InnerPlant and Deere expanded to include one of the largest crop protection companies in the world— Syngenta Group.
What Does the Announcement Mean?
At Deere’s Leaps Unlocked Event in 2022, the executive team stated they were looking to launch See and Spray capabilities for plant disease within the next few years.
To successfully offer a plant disease service (more on this below), they needed to partner with a company that delivered unique pathogen-based insights at the plant level, leading to the investment in and collaboration with InnerPlant.
Now, to better understand how a fungicide performs better and how broadly applied usage can be curbed in conjunction with the See and Spray and InnerPlant capabilities, InnerPlant and Deere needed a crop protection partner to work on trials and develop not just the understanding but the ecosystem.
Syngenta is that crop protection partner that will work with them to establish a system that links the signal (InnerPlant), the interpretation, and the optimized fungicidal application (Deere) to mitigate. The companies' consortium will start with two soybean diseases: septoria (septoria glycines) and frog eye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina).
The initial efforts with the collaboration will focus on better leveraging InnerPlant signal technology with John Deere See and Spray Technology and using plant data and equipment capabilities to create unique fungicide application approaches in soybeans.
In the October 29th, 2023 edition of Upstream Ag Professional, I highlighted that most crop protection companies, including Syngenta, had not publicly discussed their approach to navigating precision spray systems or how they would remain, leaders, when the ground shifts beneath them.
Syngenta is proactively partnering with industry leaders to navigate the looming shifts in crop protection and lay the foundation for the future of crop protection applications.
Why is this important?
This is compelling news for three reasons, with specific reasons for each player.