Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research platform, which is a collaboration with top growers and agronomic experts to evaluate agricultural technologies over more than 25,000 acres.
Indigo said the platform, called Indigo Research Partners, uses a network of more than 50 of the largest U.S. growers to gather over a trillion data points daily from sensors, drones, weather stations, and other technologies.
The platform has “significantly evolved over the past 12 months to provide further support to growers through real-time, farm-specific insights collected from commercial-scale testing,” according to a company statement.
“We are developing a new approach to agricultural R&D that will enable data-based decisions and promote continuous improvement across technologies,” said David Perry, Indigo’s President and CEO. “Ultimately, Indigo Research Partners will serve as an open-source data platform for all growers, delivering insights that can improve the profitability and sustainability of their farms.”
The company says that Indigo Research Partners platform enables a new method of agricultural R&D by eliminating the “one size fits all” approach associated with traditional field trials. The platform is designed to generate data relevant to a specific farm or field and lead to actionable insights for growers. The breadth and depth of the platform prepares growers to manage any number of environmental and field conditions, from cold and wet stress to heat and water scarcity.
Indigo has grabbed attention for its disruptive business model, by which it enters into contracts with farmers, providing them with seed at the start of the season and then purchasing their harvest for a guaranteed, premium price.
Its product portfolio includes microbial seed coatings for corn, soy, wheat, rice, and cotton. These coatings help crops to withstand environmental stressors such as drought, high temperatures, salty soils or low nitrogen and bolster resistance to disease and pests. The company also claims its products produce higher quality crops, such as increasing the protein content of wheat.