December 22, 2016

WG and Trace Genomics Partner to Bolster Soil Biology Management Efforts

Western Growers is pleased to announce a collaborative effort with Trace Genomics to help members gain insights into how soil biology management can help suppress diseases and increase productivity.

Trace Genomics is a pioneering startup that is integrating deep expertise in genomics, molecular biology, plant pathology, and data science to unleash the potential of genomics technology for transforming soil management practices. They are offering a groundbreaking genetic test that enables the agriculture sector to evaluate soils for disease pressures, microbial diversity indices that are associated with productivity and resiliency, and efficacy of various cultural practices and soil amendment products.

Trace Genomics is a member of the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology. They have been featured at the Thrive Accelerator and won the Innovation Award at the Forbes Ag Tech Summit 2016. They also recently won the Audience Choice Award at Western Growers’ Innovation Arena last month during our Annual Meeting.

“We are pleased to help advance Trace Genomics Soil Microbial Health Initiative,” said Western Growers’ Hank Giclas. “We hope it will help growers and landowners gain a deeper understanding of their soil, agricultural practices, and plant diseases to ensure the long-term success of their operations.”

Soil biology is a key factor in both short- and long-term crop productivity, disease susceptibility and crop quality.  This Soil Microbial Health Initiative is intended to be a community-wide effort to advance scientific and practical knowledge about soil biology through a greater understanding of the millions of microbes in the soil. This knowledge will help us identify tools and strategies to protect and enhance the health of soils, towards the goal of preserving and enhancing crop productivity and quality.

Trace Genomics will work closely with growers to collect samples of soils from fields with varying levels of productivity. The Trace Genomics test provides insights on the microbial composition of those soils to growers through personalized reports. Samples from soils that have been subject to different agricultural practices will help provide insight into the impact of those practices on microbial diversity and composition. While sample reports are confidential and the property of individual collaborators, a write-up at the conclusion of this initiative will provide industry-wide insights from anonymized and aggregated data and will be made available exclusively to participants in this initiative.

Enrollment in this initiative is free, but requires involvement in at least one of three projects to study soil microbial diversity and potential for plant disease, the influence of farming practices and/or the effects of various treatment technologies.

All participants will receive a complimentary view into microbial diversity and biomass shifts for their samples. Additionally, participants can request an in-depth analytics report for a fee of $349 per project ($150 for Western Growers members). These custom reports will provide detailed insights on the soil microbiome as well as data and understanding on how soil microbial communities change with the variables of interest in the project (e.g. disease, operations, or treatment).

Samples for the initiative will be accepted until July 2017, but participants can send multiple samples under any or all three projects during the duration of the initiative. To learn more, check out the project description and flyer from Western Growers and Trace Genomics.

 WG-TG Soil Microbial Health Initiative Flyer 

Trace Genomics Flyer

 For more information, contact Hank Giclas at (949) 885-2205.