InnerPlant, a seed technology company, has received a $300,000 grant from the United Soybean Board (USB) to develop a satellite-based detection system for crops experiencing stress due to pathogens. The funding will be used to construct and validate a satellite-mounted device that can detect optical signals emitted by InnerPlant-engineered crops in response to stress such as pathogen attacks, water shortages, or nutrient deficiencies. This innovative technology aims to provide farmers with crucial data to protect their yields and reduce inputs.
The USB, which is funded through assessments collected from the net market price of soybeans, supports initiatives for promoting and researching soybean agriculture, as well as collecting consumer and industry information related to soybeans. Studies have shown that farmers worldwide lose up to 20% of their yields or $800 billion due to pathogens, despite the overuse of pesticides, which wastes about 30% or $250 billion and harms the environment.
Early detection of crop stress and targeted interventions can help prevent waste and losses. However, farmers have historically lacked access to early actionable data. Satellite-based detection offers a scalable solution by providing farmers with early warning signals to better care for their crops and soil.
The InnerPlant imaging device is set to launch in the first quarter of 2024. Its successful deployment will mark the first time in history that a signal from a human-engineered organism is detected from space. In addition to supporting the device’s launch, the USB grant will fund field testing, procurement of imagery from other satellite operators, and post-processing of signals. These activities will culminate in the demonstration of satellite-based detection of human-made crop signals for the first time.
InnerPlant aims to harness plant physiology and unlock data at scale to boost global agricultural yields and sustainability. The company, founded in 2018, has been recognized for its innovative seed technology and its potential to revolutionize the farming industry. For more information, visit innerplant.com.