AGI to buy into soil microbe breeding firm

Machinery maker to take minority stake in MyLand

(MyLand.ag)

A U.S. company ramping up a system to harvest, reproduce and restore beneficial microbes from a field’s own soils, as a way to restore peak fertility, expects to get backing soon from a Canadian farm equipment maker.

Winnipeg-based Ag Growth International (AGI) said Monday it has signed a conditional letter of intent with Phoenix-based MyLand Co., which would see the Canadian firm take up a minority stake in MyLand and a seat on the U.S. company’s board of directors.

AGI, in return, will set up “at least five” new MyLand systems on grain operations in North America.

Once it has “satisfactory technical and commercial validation” of those installations in hand, AGI said it plans to enter manufacturing, distribution, engineering and software service support agreements with MyLand.

MyLand’s “Soil-as-a-Service” process extracts live, native microorganisms from a client grower’s soil and “rapidly” reproduces those organisms on-site.

MyLand’s equipment ties directly into a client farm’s irrigation system, using it to deliver “mass quantities” of those microorganisms back into fields’ soils on a continuous basis.

In the soil, the microbes then “continue to propagate, building the foundation for healthy soil and optimal growing conditions.”

MyLand says its systems are currently built to handle up to 1,000 acres each and have an expected useful life of about 15 years. Client farms pay monthly subscription-type fees for the service over contract terms of between two and five years.

In a release, AGI CEO Tim Close said the company believes its AGI SureTrack bin monitoring, crop maintenance and quality control system will, over time, “be able to capture the advanced information on soil health and irrigation system activity to create a new layer of standardized data that can be used to support a variety of sustainability-related objectives.”

AGI, whose grain handling, storage and conditioning brands include Westeel, Twister, Westfield, Batco and Ezee-Dry, “is an ideal partner for MyLand at this stage of our growth,” MyLand CEO Peter Williams said in the same release.

“The potential to provide solutions for large-scale row crops, with significant dedicated acreage, is a core opportunity for MyLand. AGI’s deep roots and expertise in this area, in addition to the resources and capabilities of a multi-national firm, make them a perfect partner for us to rapidly expand our platform and reach new customers globally.”

MyLand this year began moving past the product development and testing phases with plans to roll out its systems on farms mainly in the southwestern U.S., such as in California, Arizona and Texas.

The company says its systems’ use results in “increases in soil organic matter, porosity, water holding capacity, soil aggregation, carbon storage, and even worm population (and) allows the percolation of salt to much lower levels in the soil.”

The resulting improvement in soil structure “reduces the need for tillage, soil amendments, fertility products, and irrigation,” the company says. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

About the author

Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor of Daily News for the Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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