New agricultural technologies have tremendous potential to improve farmer efficiency and profit potential, while at the same time meeting growing regulatory and consumer pressure to enhance sustainability.
However, adoption of new technologies is sometimes slowed down by the scarcity of data on how new technologies perform in the real world. Testing in labs, greenhouses and small plots on research farms can be a critical part of the development process. But it doesn’t always provide enough information about how new technologies will work at scale on real-world farms under diverse and realistic farming conditions.
These testing challenges led FBN® to launch the Innovators Research League, a game-changing approach to new product development and testing that can accelerate and improve the way in which technologies are commercialized and distributed to farmers. FBN partners with dozens of leading technology developers to test their technologies — including innovations in biologicals, other crop inputs, and even equipment and robotics — in the real world through large-scale, on-farm trials with FBN members.
These rigorous trials get around these typical limitations by testing new products at scale in realistic conditions on actual farms, generating unbiased data to validate performance in different environments and establish credibility with growers. These carefully managed trials generate statistically robust data on product performance, and help speed the path to commercialization — with FBN providing a possible path to market for technologies that show the most potential in these on-farm trials.
As the 2022 trial season nears its close, FBN is eagerly looking ahead to the 2023 season and planning is already well underway. (Technology developers can submit interest here.)
One 2023 trial partner we’re excited to highlight is Solinftec, a leading agricultural technology company with an exciting innovation in ag robotics. Solinftec has developed a cutting-edge, autonomous, fully electric robot that promises to transform the way farmers manage their fields.
The “Solix” robot provides real-time in-field scouting data, including pest and disease identification, nutrient deficiency detection, and crop health assessments, as well as a novel platform for the precise, targeted application of crop protection products. This technology is particularly exciting because of its potential to drive improvements in efficiency, sustainability and profit potential for farmers.
"Solinftec focuses on solving structural problems in agricultural management and offers solutions that genuinely promote low-impact agriculture, while reducing cost and improving yields,” said Leonardo Carvalho, Solinftec’s director of operations. “Solinftec sees FBN as the ideal partner with shared values in helping farmers.”
On-farm testing with FBN members will begin in 2023 in the Midwest with the goal of expanding to other geographies in the future. Stay tuned for updates on the field testing and possible future commercial offerings!
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