What if Brian, a corn grower in Iowa, could improve his crop yield by 10-20% while using up to 50% less phosphorus fertilizer? Not to mention improving his soil structure and requiring less irrigation.
Mycorrhizal fungi, organisms that have existed in nature and helped plants for over 400 million years, could be the key. The research is proven, but, thus far, the costs prohibitive.
Groundwork BioAg, using technology based on research on Israeli desert fungi by Israel’s Volcani Center (the agricultural research center of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture), develops and manufactures affordable high-quality mycorrhizal inoculants for agriculture. In their words: “Simply put, our mission is to cover the world’s arable land with mycorrhiza”.
Mycorrhizal fungi help plants absorb important nutrients but modern agriculture including pesticides and not surprisingly fungicides lead to a lack of mycorrhiza in today’s farms. Restoration of the soil’s mycorrhizal balance lets plants absorb nutrients they need to grow.
Dr. Yossi Kofman, founder and manager of several Israeli start-ups, Danny Levy, an expert on mycorrhizal production techniques, and Dan Grotsky, a business development professional holding advanced degrees from MIT, have come together to transform mycorrhiza from a luxury product, affordable in low application rates within niche markets only, to a highly cost-effective mainstream agricultural product. Their company, Groundwork BioAg, has initial sales in several countries, with a focus on corn and soybean in the US.