SMART Farms Identify Custom Input Bundles to Maximize Farmer Profits
Soybean Innovation Lab SMART (Soybean Management with Appropriate Research & Technology) Farms generate unique bundle recommendations for growers that translate to high returns on their input costs and profitable soybean production. SMART Farm input bundles use a step-wise approach, moving from the basic red bundle to the advanced green bundle, to improve yields and increase profits. Beginning with a red bundle that includes certified seed and good agronomic practices (then stepping up to the yellow bundle that adds inoculum and finally the green and blue bundles which include lime and phosphorous fertilizer), SIL provides growers with the bundle that works best for their budgets, environment, soil, and growing conditions.
SIL has found that the red bundle which uses certified seed and good agronomic management practices such as row spacing, early planting, and regular weeding can increase farmer yields by as much as 2–3 times. The red bundle in the Ghana SMART Farm trials was shown to be 3.9 times more profitable than the current standard farmer practices. The yellow bundle, from the Chitedze, Malawi trial, generated an average gross margin of $1,351 USD — producing a 19x return on inoculum input costs.
Today, SMART Farms are underway in 6 countries and 25 locations across Africa, involving both private and public-sector partners. The SMART Farm’s step-wise approach minimizes financial risk for farmers, enabling them to begin with the bundle that generates the maximum return on inputs before moving to advanced steps such as the green and blue bundles.
The Soybean Innovation Lab SMART Farms are knowledge and technology hubs that provide soybean development practitioners with evidence-based guidance on the most cost-effective and highest yielding agronomic practices. In addition to generating location-specific input bundle recommendations and trialing best agronomic practices, SMART Farms also provide industry partners with a platform to test the efficacy of new crop protection & inoculum products in a low-cost, low-risk manner.