What is Medius.Re?

May 4, 2020 in News

What is Medius.Re?

Medius.Re is a collaborative agricultural data management platform that saves time and money. And while that may be what it is, that doesn’t tell you much about what it can do. A more important question to answer is, what can Medius.Re do to help you save time and money?  

The best way to answer that question is to illustrate the real-world impact of Medius.Re. Although it is strongly positioned to deliver benefits to the agricultural community, regardless of commodity, Medius Ag got its start with potatoes. 

To say that potatoes are an interesting crop would be an understatement. By USDA definition they are a specialty crop, but they also behave in some ways like a row crop. They are grown commercially in most states. They are versatile and there are literally hundreds of thousands of varieties, but we as consumers only see a small number of those in grocery stores and restaurants. There are also different types of potatoes grown for different uses. With few exceptions, a russet potato is not going to be processed into potato chips and a red potato isn’t going to be found in fries or tater tots. 

All this potato production takes a lot of research. Some of that research is private and some public. In the case of public potato research in the United States, commercial growers pool their financial resources together to help conduct marketing and research activities. Some of the research conducted is for improved varieties that may have lower sugar content, disease resistance, higher yields, etc. 

A quick, very general note about agricultural research should be offered here. Commodity-specific agricultural research usually occurs near or in that commodity’s commercial growing areas. Since there aren’t pineapple acres in South Dakota, there’s not much use for pineapple research in Brookings, Sioux Falls, Watertown… you get the idea. On the other hand, because potatoes are cultivated in vastly different growing environments across the United States, chances are good you don’t need to look very far or very hard for potato research. Potato variety trials take place from Florida to Washington state and many places in between.

As you probably expect, potato variety development research has an enormous footprint in the United States. Just in the case of the public potato research funded by potato growers and referenced above, there are national potato trials grown in 14 different states and there can be literally hundreds of varieties in each trial location. Even if you’re only tracking 20 different data points for each variety–in reality it’s much more–that would still translate to 3,560 data points for one trial in California in 2019. Now multiply that across a dozen additional states and you start to get an idea of the size and scope of the data for a single crop year. Next, input it into a spreadsheet, put 75 researchers and other stakeholders in the room and come to a consensus on which varieties are the best and should continue to be tested. To put it mildly, that’s a tall order. 

However that is exactly the situation where Medius.Re thrives. Each year, potato researchers, representatives from the potato chip processing industry, and interested growers from around the country come together and sort through the data to determine what varieties should continue and which ones should be discarded. Instead of sifting through spreadsheets that couldn’t possibly fit on a computer screen, participants are now able to establish which criteria are the most important and evaluate the varieties accordingly. A long, sometimes contentious process that had previously been squeezed into a couple of days can now be completed in less than a day with better decisions, more transparency, and increased confidence in the results among everyone and especially those funding the research. 

When speaking about Medius.Re, one of the research funding partners said it best: 

[…] I would have to say that these go / no go decisions on varieties, that used to be pretty subjective, have become noticeably more data driven, making decisions more objective and bringing better consensus throughout the trial community, from breeders all the way through to processors. The benefit is obvious to the whole community, in that our programs are more productive and “misses” that used to languish in the system for a few trial years have been greatly reduced, while the truly promising varieties are getting better attention and seeing increased momentum. 

Gene Herr
Procurement Manager, Herr Foods

Regardless of the size or complexity of an agricultural commodity’s footprint, Medius.Re can transform an agricultural sector to meet its data management needs and empower its stakeholders to make better decisions more efficiently. Ultimately, this will save time and money. 

It’s what Medius.Re has done for the potato industry, and it’s what it can do for you. 

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