Tavistock ON, 31 August 2023 – An Ontario company that developed and commercialized soil sensing technology is marking its 10th anniversary this fall with special celebrations at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) September 12 to 14 in Woodstock, Ontario.
It was at COFS in 2013 that the SoilOptix® technology was first unveiled as a new soil mapping service provided by Tavistock-based ag retail company Practical Precision. Today, SoilOptix® Inc. of Tavistock is a standalone company whose service is used by customers across Canada and in more than 20 countries around the world.
“We are incredibly excited to be celebrating this anniversary for our family-owned company and there’s no better place to do so than at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, where we first introduced our technology to Canadian growers."
Raymer adds, “Over the last decade, the evolution of our digital soil mapping system has been dramatic and earlier this year, we were proud to reach another significant milestone when we mapped our one millionth acre.”
The SoilOptix® digital topsoil mapping system combines gamma radiation-based sensor data collected at 335 data points per acre with physical soil samples to give growers a precise, high-resolution picture of fields. This includes physical properties, macro- and micro-nutrients, pH, organic matter, plant available water, and carbon. Digital dashboard results help farmers customize variable rate fertilizer programs specific to the characteristics of the soil and nutrients in their soil.
The service was first offered to Ontario growers by Raymer and his father Barry, who at that time, completed data collection and soil map creation themselves. In 2016, the Raymers sold their first SoilOptix® sensor when Manitoba-based ag retail company Crop Care Consulting wanted to offer the service to customers in their region.
A year later, SoilOptix® became a standalone company and transitioned from data collection to selling its technology to other service providers and focusing its activities on data processing and becoming a digital soil lab. Funding and programming support partnerships with the Ontario Centre for Innovation and Niagara College helped the company to develop and roll out their new artificial intelligence/machine learning mapping process, AutoMap, to scale up for working with 27 direct customers and 15 sub-dealers in over 20 countries who are offering SoilOptix® services, including under other branded names.
Last year, SoilOptix® expanded its official distributor agreement with Hutchinsons, a leading agricultural and horticultural input advice and supply company offering SoilOptix® in the United Kingdom under the TerraMap brand, to increase its presence in the European market. Through a partnership between Hutchinsons and Syngenta, the system is now being rolled out under the Interra® Scan brand across 51 countries in Europe.
In North America, SoilOptix® has more than 20 service provider partners, with seven alone covering southern Ontario. The company has just under 30 employees and is registered as a Canada Brand company with the federal government.
“Our technology is a way that farmers can strengthen soil health, manage their costs and maximize their farm’s agronomic performance while also meeting societal demands for greater sustainability in food production,” adds Raymer.
The SoilOptix® booth at this year’s COFS, NM-233, is located across from the FCC tent, and will showcase the technology and highlights from the company’s participation in Discovery Farm’s Field of Excellence program, as well as giveaways and prizes.