Microbial additives or “biologics” are becoming an important approach for farmers looking for ways to manage production challenges and a new study conducted by BioCognito and Farmgate Insights takes a multifaceted look at this expanding field of agriculture.
According to the study, “Plant Microbiome, The Next Wave in Agriculture?,” more than $5 billion has been invested in this space in the past five years. “We have seen multinationals form new alliances, well known crop protection and nutrient companies purchase startups, and an explosion of innovators, all trying to be a part of the action” said Nathan Danielson, one of the report’s authors.
While the use of biologics in specialty crops and the organic industry are ahead of row crops, with over 250 million acres planted annually this is a huge potential market. “One of our study goals was to look at the five primary field crops in the U.S. (corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and sorghum) and analyze their unique barriers to entry and potential delivery systems for biologics,” stated co-author Paul Bertels. “We have talked with a number of growers and commodity organizations to get their perspectives on what do want to enhance adoption.”
The authors have created an interactive cost-benefit model for each crop to help assess the value of a new product and those models indicate value creation in excess of $8.5 billion in farm gate revenue for these five crops in the US alone.