While production in the paddocks may have dramatically slowed in 2019, the pace for leading global innovator Indigo Ag has remained fever pitch, ensuring our Australian farmers are in a prime position to take advantage of ground breaking initiatives once the season turns.
From a heady start to the year, securing the top spot on the 2019 CNBC Disrupter 50 List, to disappointment as conditions continued to deteriorate across much of Australia, Indigo too has felt the highs and lows of the season.
But while most Australian farmers are happy to see the back of 2019, Indigo Ag’s Bill Dwyer is confident that the future for the industry remains full off potential, thanks to huge inroads being made through Indigo’s technology and emerging carbon markets.
“The most practical and immediate case in point is Indigo’s signature microbial seed inoculant, designed to help mitigate the effects of environmental stress.”
“Indigo's seed treatments contain microbes that live within plant tissue to improve drought resistance in wheat, barley, sorghum, cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, and barley.”
The product, which has enjoyed successful field and replicated trials, was launched last year in Australia, however further in-crop trials this season proved challenging due to drought along much of the eastern grain growing regions.
However, a number of grower partners managed to see a crop through to harvest, including Spring Ridge grain grower, Michael Hockey, who identified a distinct advancement in the root system of his treated wheat, vs non-treated wheat this growing season.
“Michael’s was a great example of how Indigo treated wheat can perform, even in the most desperate of seasons,” Dwyer said.
With Indigo’s technology piquing interest across the agricultural community, Indigo instigated a tour of the summer cropping regions recently, shouting dinner and drinks to drought affected farmers across Northern NSW and Southern Queensland.
“The relaxed, social format was, more than anything, an opportunity for communities to enjoy a night out and get them – physically and mentally – off the farm.”
“An in-crop walk through in Michael Hockey’s Indigo treated wheat also provided an opportunity for those interested to see results first-hand, particularly in such an exceptionally dry year.”
Other highlights of the year include the announcement of Indigo Ag’s ambitious Terraton Initiative, which intends to capture one trillion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere to benefit both farmers, and the environment.
“This is the first initiative that financially incentivises grower adoption of regenerative farming practices, not only helping combat climate change but ensuring farmers are compensated by good practice,” Dwyer said.
Regenerative farming practices are fast gaining traction across Australia, the holistic approach to agriculture increasing biodiversity while simultaneously facilitating a removal of carbon from the atmosphere.
“The philosophy behind regenerative farming practices is based upon the fact that trees, native grasses and agricultural plants capture carbon from the atmosphere and their deep-rooted systems recycle nutrients from the soil,” Dwyer explained.
“We believe storing atmospheric carbon dioxide in agricultural soils represents the most scalable, immediate and affordable action that we can take to address climate change.”
No-till farming, set crop rotations and cover cropping are all key elements in rebuilding soil organic matter thus retaining soil nutrients and carbon content.
In conjunction, Indigo will also develop a carbon market, Indigo Carbon, which Dwyer believed represented the greatest opportunity for growers.
“Indigo Carbon is a carbon market providing incentives for growers to implement regenerative farming practices at scale.”
Indigo will engage its digital agronomy capabilities and satellite imagery analysis to measure and verify soil carbon sequestration and on-farm emission levels, with farmers financially rewarded accordingly.
By developing a viable carbon market Indigo Ag will form meaningful partnerships and provide a platform for farmers not only to contribute positively to the environment, but be paid to do so.
It’s this progressive outlook and unwaivering dedication to advancing agriculture that earned Indigo Ag top placing on the CNBC’s seventh annual disruptor list earlier in the year.
The accolade confirmed Indigo Ag was now at the forefront of an agricultural revolution, and Dwyer believed the acknowledgement represented a further shift in agriculture towards a more sustainable, and healthier future.
“This list is dedicated to unveiling forward-thinking start-ups that have not only identified unexploited niches in the market, but have the potential to change the whole landscape of an industry.”
“Indigo Ag is proving that we can practice agriculture, at scale, in a way that is beneficial for growers, consumers, and the environment,” Dwyer said.
“Now we just need to add plenty of rain in 2020 and who knows what achievements can be made for not only the industry, but more importantly, producers on the ground.”