Seed World

Small Companies Make Big Strides

Big things are ahead for two businesses making a name for themselves with innovative technologies.

They’re small but mighty. These companies are focused on delivering niche solutions to help farmers produce larger, more sustainable crops. Of interest are Neogram, which breeds grasses, and Adjuvants Plus, a developer of crop input products.

Neogram, an agri-biotech company based in Argentina, was founded five years ago by Anabella Fassiano and Camila Petignat, who saw the need to bring more plant varieties to market that optimize biomass conversion. To accomplish this, the team created a prebreeding platform that “aims to boost the plant’s potential by inducing diversity within the plant genome and identifying traits associated with biomass conversion using unique selection methodologies.”

The first product to come from that platform will be GRAMAX, a pasture grass that promises better digestibility. This new Rhodes grass variety increases the efficiency with which livestock convert their feed into meat or milk. In field trials, the digestibility of GRAMAX exceeded other varieties by 12 percent. As a result, livestock require less feed and generate less methane to produce those products.

Although tropical and subtropical pasture grass is the focus of their initial efforts, Neogram believes their work will expand to other crops and benefit industries beyond livestock production.

NeoGram’s Dominga Porota Pichimahuida, Anabella Fassiano and Camila Petignat work to improve the digestibility of forages.

Working to Improve Crop Yields

Adjuvants Plus Inc. calls Kingsville, Ontario, home. It came into existence in 2000 under the guidance of William Brown and the late James Stewart. Their goal has been to help farmers realize better yields through “innovation with existing chemistry.”

They’ve developed a line of agrochemical and biological products. Among them are two water conditioning products — N Tank and Reddy It that, respectively, ensure pesticide spray solutions aren’t negatively impacted by hard water or less than ideal pH levels. N Tank binds with hard water ions to boost the effectiveness of pesticides in cereals, oilseeds and pulse crops. Reddy It works to enhance activity in herbicides.

As for biologicals, Adjuvants Plus markets EndoFine, a product U.S. and European growers use as a seed inoculant in many field crops and as a foliar spray, dip and drench in the cultivation of many horticultural crops. Its active ingredient, Clonostachys rosea, is a naturally-occurring fungal organism that induces plants to develop a more robust root system. EndoFine Express combines the fungal organism with an adjuvant system that, when used as a foliar application, can fend off fungal diseases.

“Adjuvants Plus has built a very exciting, specialized product portfolio that has utility in North American and in global markets,” Brown says. “Our technology provides growers with new tools to improve crop yields and increase returns in a sustainable manner.”