A Purdue University ag-tech startup has secured two large investments. Rogo Ag LLC, which is developing autonomous robots to collect more accurate soil samples for farmers, received a total of $200,000 from the Purdue Ag-Celerator Fund and Ag Alumni Seed, a Purdue-affiliated nonprofit.

The university says Rogo’s primary technology, SmartCore, is an autonomous robot designed to collect accurate, repeatable soil samples in fields and return them to farmers or growers. The goal is to provide samples that can lead to better decisions about the distribution of fertilizers.

Co-founders Troy Fiechter and Drew Schumacher plan to use the funding toward product goals, including simpler robot control, scalable bag labeling, and advanced collision avoidance. The university says Rogo also intends to continue scaling throughout the country.

"SmartCore can help farmers make more strategic decisions on fertilizer use and potentially reduce the amount of fertilizer they need to use, which reduces their costs," said Fiechter, who also serves as chief executive officer of Rogo. "It does this by getting the depth and location of each core of soil right."

Purdue says fertilizer costs are one of the biggest expenses facing row crop farmers and inconsistent soil sampling depth, as well as lack of location accuracy can skew test results, leading to suboptimal fertilizer application.

You can learn more about Rogo and the Ag-Celerator Fund by clicking here.