LET IT SHINE. InnerPlant’s transgenic soybeans signal plant-stress conditions by changing colors in luminescence, allowing efficient alerts through drone or satellite imagery. The plant on left is thriving, while the specimen on the right is stressed. Photo: InnerPlant

Signaling Plants, Bioherbicide, Soil Sensing Among Newest Agronomic Tech

In this month’s Ahead of the Curve column, we take a glance at some of the latest R&D efforts affecting global agriculture.

The blend of traditional “rocks and clods” agronomics and the digital transformation of everything from machine control to biotechnology research to advance sensing capabilities makes working in today’s agriculture a fascinating opportunity for a guy who was born when Fords still had fat fenders and round clutch pedals.

While many of the products and processes emerging from research and development today don’t directly affect the type of iron in the field or the shiny new machines on dealers’ lots, the precision they enable will definitely affect farming methods and no-tillers’ bottom lines. Here’s a glance at four companies with emerging agronomy technology:

Harpe Bioherbicide

Harpe Bioherbicide is developing plant-based formulations for burndown and pre-emerge applications targeting herbicide-resistant weeds. The compounds under study include standalone formulations and products designed to work in tank mixes with leading synthetic active ingredients.

Company officials say their products will be capable of integrated use with existing herbicides and offer at least three modes of action. Chad Brommer, Harpe’s co-founder and technology chief, says researchers are working on biological methods to disrupt cell membranes, causing loss of turgor and wilting; photosynthesis; and energy production in cellular mitochondria. He…

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Dan crummett 0618

Dan Crummett

Dan Crummett has more than 35 years in regional and national agricultural journalism including editing state farm magazines, web-based machinery reporting and has an interest in no-till and conservation tillage. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma State Univ.

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