Early Detection of Fungal Diseases

Early Detection of Fungal Diseases

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
It’s time for your Farm of the Future Report. I’m Tim Hammerich.

Fighting crop diseases can be tough when you don’t know whether or not they’re present in the field until after an outbreak has occurred. Christine White is CEO of Spornado, an early alert for crop diseases.

White… “Globally fungal diseases cost the ag industry a ton of money. $13 billion are spent on fungicides each year, and there are still $60 billion lost to fungal disease. Yet growers don’t know when disease is in their fields until they see it - and it’s too late.”

White and her team have been using the technology for indoor growing for years, and just recently modified it for outdoor field crops.

White… “It is an air sampler that is powered only by wind. It holds a cassette that collects airborne fungal disease, which is couried to a local partner lab. Results are reported back to the farmer via text or email within 24 hours. The same equipment can be used for any crop, any fungal disease. Only the test in the lab needs to change. We’ve also validated in-field tests using portable equipment. And unique to Spornado, we can test for pesticide resistance.”

White says this will allow farmers to take action before they have a problem and only use crop protection tools when required.

White… “...which can increase yields and reduce pesticides used. Beneficial for both the farmer’s bottom line and our environment.”

Spornado was one of five participants in the recent pitch event put on by AgLaunch an organization that attracts, creates, and grows agtech startups.

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