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Source: Syngenta news release

Greensboro, NC - Growers who work with Phytech and Sound Agriculture - two companies in the Syngenta Ventures portfolio - are increasing potential yields while preserving valuable natural resources. Most notably, technologies coming from these companies are helping growers make yield advances possible on marginal land.

Phytech enables better, smarter irrigation
Phytech, an Israel-based company, offers a high-tech solution for irrigation planning. It uses a dendrometer to measure the contraction and expansion of the plant's trunk, and an app that collects that data and layers it with information about the climate to provide growers with color-coded irrigation recommendations.

Mark Sherfy, the water resource manager for D & J Farm Management in Bakersfield, California, credits the technology with increasing yields and revolutionizing the way his farm irrigates.

"Back in the day, everyone would do furrow irrigation - flooding a crop row about once a week," he said. "The problem is you waste water because you get standing water that the trees can't use, and the water evaporates."

Instead of furrow irrigation, Phytech recommended daily watering - "and it told us exactly how much our plants needed," said Sherfy. This year, he's planning a trial run with the business's table grapes - "not to just save water, but to fully utilize 100% of the water I put out," he said.

Sound Agriculture unlocks yield potential
Sound Agriculture also is working to help maximize profitability in yield-limited environments. With its new Source product, launched last December for use during the 2020 growing season, Sound Agriculture is helping growers increase yields by tapping into the nutrients already present in their soil.

Steve Pitstick, who grows corn and soybeans near Maple Park, Illinois, can speak to the product's impact. In 2019, he used Source, an easy-to-use foliar spray, for the first time. The results were immediate and striking: an average 17.1-bushel-per-acre increase in yield - across multiple soil types. The spike has encouraged him to make Source a key part of his plans moving forward.

"Based on the results of that small-scale testing, I'm planning to purchase Source for use next year and increase my Source testing in different fields," he said.

Eric Davidson, Ph.D., CEO of Sound Agriculture, is confident that Source can have a dramatic impact on yield potential. "Source mimics plant-to-microbe signals, unlocking the nitrogen and phosphorus that already exist in the field," he said. "On average, we see around a 9-bushel-per-acre yield increase for corn, with some soil types seeing 20- to 30-bushel increases over untreated areas."

Syngenta Ventures' investments in both companies are representative of the team's mission to support solutions that help growers farm sustainably. That mission ties into the Syngenta Good Growth Plan - a plan that lays out the commitments the company is making to secure the future of agriculture and our planet's ecosystems. For more information about Syngenta Ventures, one of the world's first venture capital teams dedicated to agriculture, visit Join the conversation online - connect with Syngenta at

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