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A New Way to Think About Growing Crops

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A New Way to Think About Growing Crops

Throughout history farmers have always grown crops from the top down, but new technology grows crops from the bottom up. This technology is being demonstrated in Indiana. Imagine watering and fertilizing your crops from underground. That is what John Mascoe is doing in a field in Hancock County. “Over the past several years we have been working to merge several different technologies to merge subsurface nutrient delivery with infield sensing that determines just what plants need and just what soils can handle,” he told HAT.

By instilling a series of small pipes under the soil surface along with soil sensors and cameras, he can monitor and assess the needs of the soil and the plants growing there. Mascoe elaborated, “Then you pump nutrients and biologicals to the root zones of the plants.” He adds that all this can be done without driving equipment across the field.

Does this significant investment pay off? Mascoe says that it does.

“We have been able to show a 100% increase in yield with an 60% decrease in inputs.” He added this is their goal: to demonstrate exceptional increases of productivity. The data can then be entered into a computer program that can make recommendations and predict outcomes based on weather trends and past performance.

The 26 acre plot is part of the Idea Co-op, an ag innovation project of NineStar Connect, a collaborative idea and technology co-working center located on 36 acres in Greenfield.  Idea Co-op is located four miles north of I-70 on SR9, and is an easy drive to Indianapolis, the airport, and to surrounding hotels and restaurants.