Just what's happening below ground with your crop? As farmers look for ways to boost yields, input companies are striving to develop new tools to meet that need. And sometimes that comes through market partnerships.
The Mosaic Co. and Sound Agriculture recently announced a strategic partnership to launch a new nutrient efficiency product to market. It's not a new fertilizer, but a foliar spray that will allow the crop to improve how it uses available nutrients.
To dig in on the idea, Farm Progress connected with Kim Nicholson, vice president of ag technology and innovation at Mosaic, and Adam Litle, CEO at Sound Agriculture. This is not the first market agreement Mosaic has made, the company is also working with Anuvia to market Susterra; it's developing new solutions with BioConsortia; and recently signed a new deal with AgBiome.
"We are a crop nutrition company," Nicholson says. "That's what we wake up in the morning thinking about, and we're always thinking about how that expands and how we meet the future needs of growers."
Soil health is a growing focus for agriculture, and this new collaboration with Sound Agriculture does involve a product that offers soil health benefits. But Nicholson adds that farmers want better ways to optimize the nutrients they use. "We're on a mission looking for great technology and science teams, and companies that are innovating there," she adds.
Sound Agriculture already has two products on the market — Source Corn and Source Soybeans. These tools spark a microbiome response that gives corn and soybeans access to more nitrogen and phosphorus locked up in the soil. But the company continues to develop new products, and this partnership will help that come to fruition.
Nicholson emphasizes that this relationship will work as a partnership, noting that both know what skill sets and strengths each brings to the process. "We spend a lot of time with potential partners, thinking about our partnership and what we bring to the party and what they bring to the party," Nicholson says. "At the end of the day, it's what lifts both boats that works."
Litle agrees and shares why Sound Agriculture was interested in working with Mosaic: "Mosaic is really a unique partner for us. There have been a number of companies interested in creating partnerships that utilize our technology and push it through their distribution channels, but Mosaic's approach was different,” he says. "One important difference was that they're willing to move faster and really be aggressive. I can't overemphasize how critical it was to have the willingness to take that leap because most [companies] sit on their heels in this space."
Litle adds that Mosaic brings a range of expertise to the relationship not only in market access but insight on the nutrition side of the business. "We don't know a lot about micronutrients, or as much about their interaction with phosphorus or potassium, but they're leaders in that technology," he adds.
The partnership is working to develop a product for the market that will combine Sound Agriculture's proprietary biochemistry approach with Mosaic's micronutrients to provide crops more nutrients and enhance crop efficiency. Corn and soybeans will be first, but there is the potential to expand to other crops, including wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane, coffee and more. The rollout will take place in the United States in 2023, with more markets added such as Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
Going to market
Litle explains that his company's Source line of products will continue to be marketed by Sound Agriculture, adding that "there's a lot of room in the market for multiple products like this."
As for Mosaic and the product it will launch from the partnership, Nicholson explains that the work has begun in the field. "We started our courtship here more than a year ago," she explains. "A critical part is for all producers to understand how [the product] works in the field, and for our teams to understand the value it creates."
That work will take place in the next two seasons, and Nicholson says that in the end, Mosaic will develop a "comprehensive package for the producer to deliver that enhanced value."