Matt Shatto — co-founder of the the popular Kansas City dairy Shatto Milk Company — is trailblazing new sustainable tech to help farmers reap more crops and reduce costs.
Launched in 2016, Kansas City-based TerraManus Technologies created a patented device that helps farmers better manage soil and allocate water resources.
The “TerraStar Disk” looks like a plastic wheel with wide treads that attach to farming equipment such as a tractor or planter. When several disks lineup beside one another, the wheels’ treads create a series of divots, consolidating soil. The consolidated soil enables plants to have more exposure to the sun and increases its access to hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.
“It allows farmers to use less fertilizers, less nitrates, and you could irrigate less,” said Shatto, who’s CEO of the firm. “It’s extraordinarily simple and this can go in and help the smallest farmer — even gardeners — increase their yields.”
After eight years of field testing and research by a team of engineers and agronomists, TerraManus was born. Shatto said that, depending on the crop, the device can increase yields anywhere from nine to 40 percent.
As a startup, Shatto said that it’s important for the firm to sow only the opportunities it can reap. Though most row crops can benefit from the tech, TerraManus will focus first on tomatoes, which research says will have the highest impact.
Last May, TerraManus piloted the TerraStar Disk in Indiana with Red Gold, the Midwest’s largest tomato processor. Via a study in partnership with Purdue University, the group discovered that after three months, Red Gold’s TerraStar plot generated a 75-percent greater yield than the control plot.
“We were astounded by the results,” Shatto said. “We believe that once everyone sees the results of our studies they’ll have no choice but to invest, as we provide such a greater outcome for farmers.”
Shatto said that TerraManus has raised $75,000 of a current $300,000 seed-round offering and is happy with its first few months of sales.
“The investment will be spent on market penetration,” Shatto said. “When you have a brand that’s brand new, we have to get people to understand all the positives that this technology can bring to the world long term.”
In addition to being a handy tool for farmers, Shatto sees potential for the tech to assist the environment and third world countries. TerraStar Disk has been proven to be more a more sustainable option and has been tested in Senegal, Africa through the United States Agency for International Development.
Here is a close up image of what the TerraStar Disks look like: