When you take a bite into your veggies, have you imagined a farmer using an app to increase crop productivity? Now, farmers can use SoilMetrix, a machine learning SaaS tool that predicts soil nutrients and properties to maximize yields while protecting the environment.
SoilMetrix is a spin off of RTP-based Ag TechInventures, an agricultural technology innovation lab, now headed by CEO Shane Hand and founded by Karen LeVert. SoilMetrix has worked with NC State and Iowa State researchers for a few years now and plans to exit its pilot round and fully launch in 2021.
Hand said that in the next 30 years, there will be at least two billion more people on the planet. Feeding them requires sustainability, productivity and efficiency, all of which SoilMetrix addresses.
Food and nutrients will ultimately become more scarce down the line, making the technology that SoilMetrix provides even more vital.
“We’re taking the predictability of crop inputs and relating it to crop outputs in a predictive virtual realm that has never been seen before,” Hand said.
SoilMetrix has developed technology that enables farmers to boost productivity and profitability by using machine learning to predict soil nutrients so they can make any necessary adjustments. The company’s offering is a digital augmentation tool that complements physical soil sampling with virtual soil sampling. SoilMetrix is accessible and farmer-friendly, available on desktops, tablets or phones.
“We actually kind of walk the industry through our ability to predict,” Hand said. “If you want to grow corn and grow this amount of corn, we can predict that amount virtually of what you’re going to need.”
SoilMetrix’s ability to better supply food and increase farmer productivity extends far beyond the farmers to distribution, manufacturers and consumers.
“It’s not just about farmers,” Hand said. “It’s all the way through the supply chain.”
SoilMetrix also has the ability to indicate the amount of organic matter or carbon in soil, potentially aiding many farmers and companies in their carbon footprint initiatives.
The minds behind SoilMetrix believe the technology can address two fundamental challenges in the coming years: increasing food production in an environmentally responsible way.
Looking ahead, Hand sees exponential growth for SoilMetrix and expansion across the United States, Canada and Latin America.
Every company had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, but as an agricultural technology company, the impacts for SoilMetrix are minimal as people will always need to eat, Hand said.
“Those are basic human commodities that we cannot live without,” Hand said. “So agriculture is a direct recipient of the requirement as a basic human necessity that facilitates the enablement of digital technologies in agriculture.”