Precision Planting’s latest invention is a suite of tools for automating soil sampling and testing.

The company announced Aug. 3 the new tools for agronomists under the name Radicle Agronomics

Radicle Agronomics has three components. Radicle Lab, what Precision Planting calls the world’s first fully automated soil laboratory, is a 10-foot-by-10-foot machine that can analyze hundreds of soil samples unattended.

The soil samples come from GeoPress, a device that mounts on utility vehicles to automatically blend and store soil samples in geo-tracked containers. The full containers go in Radicle Lab for analysis and eliminate the need for hand-labeling.

The final piece of Radicle Agronomics is a cloud-based software package to connect all steps of the field-to-lab process. A Precision Planting product manager says agronomists will start to get results within minutes of starting the Radicle Lab unit.

The units are in the final stages of testing this fall with the first production release set for late spring and early summer of 2023. Precision Planting is offering Radicle Agronomics as an annual lease arrangement that includes the three components, training on the system and any necessary servicing.

Doug Wright, Precision Planting’s commercial lead, says the Radicle Agronomics products will go to market through a parallel sales channel, not Precision Planting’s traditional dealer network.

“Radicle Agronomics hinges on the output of these products being in the hands of those that growers trust for fertility recommendations, and that isn't our dealer network. A limited number of our dealers actually have robust agronomic services. We have had some communications and webinars with our dealer network so they know what this initiative is at a high level, what the products are that are involved with it, how we're planning to take it to market, why we don't think that they are the natural channel to take this to market. The feedback we've gotten this far is that the vast majority of them understand that. For some, it probably came as a surprise, but again, the thought that's gone into it, the way that this can really serve the grower, the vast majority of them understand that and applaud it.” 

Wright and a product lead at Precision Planting talked at length with Precision Farming Dealer’s Michaela Paukner about Radicle Agronomics and its strategic significance for Precision Planting. Those interviews will air on the Thursday, Aug. 11 episode of the Precision Farming Dealer podcast, which will be available to listen to for free here.