Award presented for soil nutrient mapping technology


The Ohio Soybean Council, in partnership with Persistence Data Mining Inc., has won its eleventh R&D 100 Award for a revolutionary soil nutrient mapping and testing platform. The PDMI hyperspectral imaging technology — Soilytics — dramatically improves the efficiency of the soil testing process by eliminating chemical lab tests, making it faster and more cost-effective. The product also provides farmers actionable data that can help improve both profitability and environmental stewardship.

OSC and PDMI accepted the joint award during the 2019 R&D 100 Awards Banquet recently in San Francisco, California.

“We are grateful to be included with such an esteemed group of researchers and scientists. We are excited to represent AgTech for this award with a solution that helps famers, feed people and protect our environment,” said Penny Nagel, PDMI Chief Operating Officer. “We are greatful to OSC for their partnership and support. Soybean growers in Ohio and across the nation can be proud of their leadership.”

How does it work?

Hyperspectral images are taken of fields and uploaded directly to labs for testing. It eliminates time at the field, shipping costs and delays, and will provide quicker results to companies and farmers.

A number of large companies have tried to figure out how to make this work in the past without much success. The problem was finding the right algorithms necessary to extract the relevant digital signatures of nutrients. Thanks to support from OSC and other forward-thinking partners, through billions of data calcuations PDMI finally developed proprietary code to identify OM, soil type, moisture, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, CEC, calcium, magnesium and other micronutrients at a high level of confidence that might prove to be more accurate than traditional methods.

“This technology is well ahead of the curve,” said Barry McGraw, OSC director of product development and commercializaion. “Farmers rely on soil testing to be efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. Now they can be even more precise when making decisions about fertilizing their crops. OSC has been looking for just the right partner to help farmers tackle this challenge, and we found it in PDMI.”

“Farmers need more precise, real-time, soil nutrient mapping,” said Bill Bateson, OSC chairman and farmer from Hancock County. “This type of technology can help us better manage input costs without loss of productivity, as well as protect water and soil quality. I’m really excited to see where this technology goes and proud that the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff is a part of it.”

PDMI is currently working to get the soil nutrient mapping technology in the hands of agronomic service providers, as well as developing partnerships with large equipment manufacturers and digital platform companies to move Soilytics into all areas of the precision agriculture market. PDMI has been supported by industry for the last four years starting with acceptance to the 2017 AgLaunch program in Memphis which connected them with a huge farmer network in the South for testing and validation in the field and on the farm.

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