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Indigo Announces Significant Yield Gains in Winter Wheat
Kansas Ag Connection - 09/08/2017

Indigo Ag, Inc., a company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet, released preliminary data from its microbial seed treatment for wheat. Indigo's second commercial product, Indigo Wheat was launched in the fall of 2016 on approximately 20,000 acres across multiple states and was recently harvested. The seed treatment, developed from naturally occurring, in-plant microbes, increases the productivity of wheat plants by improving plant tolerance to water stress.

Data collected to date show that wheat grown from seeds coated with Indigo microbes produced an 8.3% average yield increase when compared to wheat grown from seeds coated only with a standard chemical package. These data come from growers' commercial fields instead of more typical small plot trials. Yield improvements were achieved without increased water or chemical use. Regions with yields below 60 bushels per acre experienced even greater productivity improvements, with yield increases averaging 15.7%. This is likely linked to greater water stress in those areas. These data are consistent with the results of three years of controlled field trials.

"These results come from farmers' fields in our community," said Tom Clayman, president of Kauffman Seeds, Inc. "We saw an average 8% yield improvement despite the favorable growing conditions that we experienced in the 2016-2017 growing season. Average yields in this area are more like 40 to 50 bushels per acre, and Indigo demonstrated 16% yield increases in these more highly stressed conditions. A 16% increase in yield could really make the difference between farms being profitable and not."

"These results demonstrate the potential of the plant microbiome to increase agricultural yields and do so in a way that conserves natural resources," said David Perry, president and CEO of Indigo. "Consumers increasingly want, and are willing to pay for, high quality food, produced in a sustainable way. This allows us to pay growers a premium for producing Indigo Wheat."

The production model behind Indigo Wheat was developed to increase grower profitability, leading to more bushels per acre and a higher price for every bushel. With Indigo Wheat, farmers in the United States can enter into a crop production contract and receive a price premium at harvest. For a typical dry-land wheat grower, the combination of price premium and yield improvement could result in an additional $50 per acre of farm revenue. These practices increase yield without requiring additional water or chemical use throughout the growing season.

Taking this model one step further, Indigo enters into these production contracts based on acres committed, as opposed to production bushels harvested. This model, typically reserved for vegetables or other high-value crops, allows farmers to share their production risk with Indigo.

The harvested Indigo Wheat, grown using the company's microbial technology, will then be sold to buyers willing to pay a premium for high-quality, transparently sourced wheat. With crops that can be traced back to farmers' fields, Indigo is positioned to provide consumers with more information about the wheat they consume.

"We're very excited about our ability to give consumers confidence in our wheat, which is grown transparently and sustainably through the harnessing of naturally occurring microbes," said Ben Allen, Vice President of Commercial Marketing.

Indigo is a company dedicated to harnessing nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. With a vision of creating a world where farming is an economically desirable and accessible profession, Indigo works alongside growers to apply natural approaches, grow healthy food for all, and conserve resources for future generations. Through its production model, Indigo links growers' expertise with its own to improve the profitability of their operations. Utilizing beneficial plant microbes to improve crop health and productivity, Indigo's portfolio is focused on cotton, wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. The company is headquartered in Boston, Mass., with commercial and customer service based in Memphis, Tenn.

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