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Interseeder Technologies wins $7,500 TechCelerator Award

Posted: June 13, 2013

Congratulations to Corey Dillon and Chris Houser and the Interseeder Technologies team for their commercialization plan that won a $7,500 TechCelerator Award Tuesday, June 11.
The Interseeder saves money, and improves yield

The Interseeder saves money, and improves yield

The win was “exciting,” says Houser. “We’re looking forward to further developing our plan to commercialize and have an existing business by September.” 

Houser earned a master’s degree in agronomy in December 2012 and now works full-time in the Department of Plant Sciences’ forage variety testing program. 

Dillon is working on his master’s degree in agronomy and builds and fabricates research machinery at the Russell Larson Research and Education Center. 

Dillon and Houser competed to enter and participated in the eight-week TechCelerator for Entrepreneurs program, part of Ben Franklin Technology Partners/Central Northern Pennsylvania, where they received mentoring and new venture support. 

As the finale to the program, six teams pitched their business models in eight-minute presentations to a panel of judges eyeing the technical innovation, demonstrated commercial value, viability, competitive advantage and level of commitment to commercialize. 

Dillon and Houser have fabricated several Intercrop seeder prototypes since 2010 with their faculty advisors Drs. Greg Roth, professor of agronomy, and Bill Curran, professor of weed science. All work within the Department of Plant Science

The Interseeder invention — a patent is pending —allows farmers to do three things in a single pass through a field: seed a cover crop, side-dress a standing corn or soybean crop with fertilizer and spray herbicide, saving farmers an estimated $100 per acre. 

Sowing cover crops in-between cash crops reduces soil run-off, improves fertilizer retention and soil quality — while saving farmers money. 

Field tests in 2011 and 2012 indicate using the machine for the three tasks in a no-till field generally results in a better yield per acre of the cash crop the following year. 

Now, right as the corn crop is knee-high, more trials are underway. The Interseeder was used to plant last week in Maryland, next week in Pennsylvania and the following week in New York. 

The Interseeder team works with partners Cornell University and USDA Grantville, Md., to test the innovative machinery under a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation grant. 

Dillon and Houser have built several prototypes over the last few years. Manufacturers have built Interseeder machines from their designs and prototype work, under a licensing deal with Penn State, and now the Interseeder has been used in five states over the last two years. 

That “proof of concept” work was critical to the successful plan and winning the $7,500 award, says Houser. 

For more information on the Intercrop seeder

For more on the TechCelerator business incubator in State College.