New distribution agreement expands European footprint for Canadian digital soil mapping technology
Bioenterprise Canada support fuels SoilOptix’ growth at home and abroad
By Lilian Schaer for Bioenterprise Canada
Soil sensing technology developed and commercialized in Ontario is now going to be offered to more farmers across continental and Eastern Europe. It’s a major step forward for Tavistock, Ontario-based SoilOptix® Inc, and they attribute at least part of their ongoing success to support they’ve received from Bioenterprise Canada, Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine.
“Bioenterprise has been a huge part of our growth with resources, guidance and funding,” says SoilOptix® Operations Manager Lori Davey. “As a young company bringing a new technology to market, we don’t know everything and we can’t know everything, so it’s really great to have people who can help guide you.”
The SoilOptix® digital topsoil mapping system combines gamma radiation-based sensor data collected at 335 data points per acre with strategically located physical soil samples to give growers a precise, high-resolution picture of fields.
This includes physical properties, macro- and micro-nutrients, pH, organic matter, plant-available water, and carbon. Results, available on an easy-to-use digital dashboard, help farmers identify areas of interest in a field and customize a variable rate fertilizer program specific to the characteristics of the soil and nutrients in the ground.
For the last several years, SoilOptix® has had an official distributor agreement with an agricultural input advice and supply company in the United Kingdom called Hutchinsons, who sell, support, and market the technology in the UK under the TerraMap banner.
Now, Hutchinsons have struck a new partnership with Syngenta, which makes the SoilOptix® system available under the Interra® Scan brand across 51 countries in Europe. The rollout of Interra® Scan SoilOptix® sensors will begin in Eastern Europe with Ukraine and Poland and gradually move into western Europe over the next several years.
“Bioenterprise was definitely helpful to help get us ready to go international and we wouldn’t have gotten there without their assistance in how to have conversations with potential international partners, and how to get a company ready for a presence in international markets,” Davey says, noting the SoilOptix® team values the ongoing mentorship, guidance and resources from Bioenterprise staff and advisors.
That includes Bioenterprise’s business-focused information sessions, introductions to potential partners and collaborators, and regular check-ins to see what additional support could be needed.
SoilOptix® has also participated in funding programs delivered by Bioenterprise; currently, they’re a recipient of a SmartGrowth grant to develop marketing initiatives that will help ramp up sales activities as the global economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, Bioenterprise Canada brings almost two decades of industry experience and a national and international network of research institutions, academia, mentors and experts, funders and investors, government, and industry partners to help small and medium-sized businesses in the agri-food sector nationwide connect, innovate, and grow.
For more information on SmartGrowth and how to apply for the next cohort, visit https://bioenterprise.ca/programming/bioenterprise-smartgrowth-program/ or contact Alexandra Burdett at Alexandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.