California-based, Pivot Bio has announced completion of an additional $70 million in funding to bankroll the company’s 2019 commercial launch of Pivot Bio PROVENTM, the first and only nitrogen-producing microbes for U.S. corn farmers.
According to a company press release, PROVENTM promises a clean alternative to synthetic nitrogen to the crop on a daily basis. The new funding will also support expanded research and development for the company's second-generation product, a seed treatment option, as well as product introductions beyond the U.S. in markets such as Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
"This round of funding enables Pivot Bio to introduce our products to the world. We're excited to deliver a product to farmers that increases their productivity while improving the quality of our air and water through reduced fertilizer-linked pollution," said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder, Pivot Bio.
According to Temme, Pivot Bio will offer farmers the first in-field microbial product to sustainably feed nitrogen daily to corn crops. Available in select states, including Michigan, for the 2019 planting season, Pivot Bio’s first-generation product is an in-furrow application.
Pivot Bio estimates that an acre of corn requires about one pound of nitrogen daily during its early stage growth. As the corn matures, throughout the growing season and especially between V6 to R4, the nitrogen requirements dramatically increase during this critical growth period.
Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has traditionally been the source of nitrogen during this growth stage as long as the nitrogen doesn’t leach, run off or volatize. According to Pivot Bio, they have identified specific microbes in a crop's own roots capable of producing nitrogen. However, these microbes are wired to shut down their natural ability to feed plants when nitrogen is plentiful in the soil.
Unlike synthetic nitrogen that sits in the soil, Pivot Bio PROVEN™ microbes adhere to the roots of the corn plant and will not run off during weather events. This assures a more reliable and consistent method for delivering plant nutrition.
"While fertilizer is a critical input for producing enough food to feed the planet, its current use is unsustainable for the farmer and pollutes our environment," said Temme. "Pivot Bio's PROVENTM solution helps make farming more efficient and reduce the environmental footprint of fertilizer."
According to Temme, the microbes were field-tested in more than 5,000 field trial plots in over 100 locations in 2017. “These studies helped us refine product concepts and better understand all the ways our microbes benefit crops while we set our sights on creating the 2018 Intent to Pivot Program for innovative farmers across the Corn Belt. “
Iowa-based farmer Tim Couser of Couser Farms participated in Pivot Bio's Intent to Pivot 2018 pilot program, “It was a good fit with how we manage our farm,” Couser said "This product has the potential to make positive changes on our family's farm, and we are pleased to add Pivot Bio PROVENTM to our program."