Agtech Seedlings: Amazon backs methane capture startup | Agco unveils precision ag brand PTx

By Staff
6 Min Read

Editor’s note: Agtech Seedlings is a weekly roundup of the latest in agriculture technology news, digging into venture funding, product announcements and other innovation milestones. Have news to share? Email us here.

Startup snags $28M for microbe that turns methane into fertilizer

California-based Windfall Bio said this week it raised $28 million to scale development of a methane-eating microbe that farmers can use to lower emissions and create organic fertilizer.

The investment brings the company’s total fundraising to $37 million. Windfall said it will use the capital to build manufacturing capacity and deploy pilots across industries that include agriculture, waste management and oil and gas.

Windfall’s microbial solution captures methane from any source while also trapping nitrogen from the air, allowing users to produce organic fertilizer. Investors in the fundraising round included Prelude Ventures and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.

Amazon plans to test the technology with its Whole Foods suppliers, according to Nick Ellis, principal of the Climate Pledge Fund.

“Windfall Bio’s approach to methane mitigation creates an exciting greenhouse gas emissions reduction opportunity for agricultural customers and other industries,” Ellis said in a statement.

Agco launches precision ag brand PTx

Farm equipment manufacturer Agco launched a new brand to represent its precision agriculture assets, including those acquired from a $2 billion joint venture with Trimble.

The new brand, called PTx, combines the Trimble assets with Agco’s Precision Planting portfolio. The alignment of the brands comes as Agco looks to rapidly expand its precision offerings, including the option for farmers to retrofit the tech onto existing machines of “almost any make or vintage,” according to an announcement.

Specialized dealers can help farmers add PTx products through retrofits, and the brand is also expanding its relationship with more than 100 equipment manufacturing partners to integrate the precision technology directly at the factory. Machines from Agco brands Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra will also offer factory-fit technology from the PTx portfolio.

Agco formed PTx Trimble April 1 following the completion of its joint venture transaction with Trimble. Seth Crawford, senior vice president and general manager of PTx, will lead the new organization.

“We believe technology should give farmers the flexibility to work their way across brands and throughout the crop cycle,” Crawford said. “Through the PTx portfolio offerings within Precision Planting and PTx Trimble, we’ll provide seamlessly compatible, powerfully simple precision ag solutions.”

ADM, Solugen break ground on biomanufacturing plant

Biochemical startup Solugen has begun construction of a 500,000-square-foot facility that will turn corn dextrose into low-carbon organic acids for use in water treatment, agriculture, energy and home and personal care.

The plant will be located on a 34-acre piece of land adjacent to an Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. corn processing complex in Marshall, Minnesota. At full production, the facility will be capable of converting an estimated 150 million pounds of dextrose a year, the company said.

“We are excited to be taking the next step in our partnership with Solugen and to help meet the increasing demand for sustainable products,” said Chris Cuddy, president of ADM’s carbohydrate solutions business unit. “Our partnership with Solugen offers another avenue in which ADM can diversify the products made from our corn stream and continue to support plant-based solutions for use in a wide variety of consumer and industrial products.”

The plant is slated to come online in fall 2025. Solugen received $760,000 in financial incentives from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Job Creation Fund.

Ginkgo Bioworks buys AgBiome assets

Biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks acquired gene sequences and other data from AgBiome, which discovers and develops microbial-based crop protection products.

The assets include 115,000 fully sequenced and isolated strains and over 500 million unique gene sequences, in addition to AgBiome’s development pipeline, according to an announcement. AgBiome in October announced it would lay off potentially all of its employees due to fundraising challenges, AgWeb reported.

“This is a world class asset that will significantly expand our capabilities and can directly benefit Ginkgo’s customers in the ag biologicals space,” Gingko Fellow Michael Miille said in a statement. “In addition to the platform assets and capabilities, the product concepts pipeline that has been validated by AgBiome to date provides an exciting opportunity to give customers a head-start in their product development efforts.”

Ginkgo Bioworks has worked to expand its agricultural biologicals platform since acquiring a Bayer research and development facility in 2022. The AgBiome assets will help create “one of the deepest and most advanced ag biological discovery and development platforms,” according to the announcement.

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