Growers looking to reduce crop inputs and increase profits now have access to a program to achieve both - Plant Sap Analysis. The technology is offered by Crop Health Labs, in partnership with NovaCropControl Laboratories. Plant Sap Analysis offers a different approach to a very common nutrient management problem. Unlike traditional tissue sampling, Plant Sap Analysis provides immediate indicators of plant stress, before the plant even shows nutrient deficiencies. This saves valuable time and allows growers to apply exacting amounts of fertility inputs, before symptoms emerge.
Crop Health Labs is the only company offering 21 different nutrient parameters for testing in a laboratory environment. The company uses standardized operating, sampling and shipping procedures and the analysis is customized for each grower's operation. For growers who are not trained consultants, Crop Health Labs trained staff work directory with growers based on crop and region.
Sjoerd Smits, co-founder of NovaCropControl and the Plant Sap Analysis technology, explains that in traditional tissue analysis, the leaves are detached, dried and then analyzed for nutrient content. In this scenario, when a grower attempts to make a collective action, the only action available to take is retroactive. "It's past tense. You can't undo a nutrient deficiency once it has already hit the plant. You can only treat it."
"With sap analysis," Smits continues, "because we extract the sap comparatively, out of both old and young leaf tissue, we are able to predict what nutrient sinks the plant is going to have by trending which nutrients are mobilized from the old growth of the crops sampled." Comprehensive results from the analysis are available to the grower in less than a week, which are several days in advance of the current dry matter results in the U.S.
A crop consultant trained by Crop Health Labs, working with a cherry grower in a committed plant nutrient testing program will sample every two weeks during production. Leaves of old and young growth are collected and shipped to the lab where Plant Sap Analysis is conducted. Through a strategic extraction method, sap is liberated from the leaf structures and if a potassium sink is about to happen, it will be evident 2-3 weeks before the plant shows symptoms. The grower prevents yield loss due to the nutrient deficiency by gaining this time back, modifying inputs, and proactively attacking the impending nutrient sink before the crop has a chance to stress.
Crop Health Labs Executive Director Michelle Gregg says the benefits of Plant Sap Analysis are truly realized financially. "We have a database of long-term, trend data from 10 years of sap analysis study. Growers report saving most on reserved Nitrogen, up to 40 percent of their nitrogen costs, by modifying applications of macro and micro-nutrients in key ratios identified for optimum plant health. The technology is a systems balancer that can be applied to any production system."
"Ongoing Plant Sap Analysis allows growers to proactively manage nutrition and increase the crops' likelihood for greater yield and less stress," explains Gregg. " With exacting nutrition, a plant will do what it is meant to do - grow and produce."
Crop Health Labs recommends conducting the Plant Sap Analysis every two weeks, but the consultant and client determine the best sampling schedule on a custom basis. The technology can be used for virtually any crop and an analysis for the cannabis industry is in the pipeline for future development. With delayed crops in many regions due to extreme weather conditions, including excess rain and drought, there is still time to begin Plant Sap Analysis for this growing season.
Gregg says that the preventative, proactive nature is what it's really all about. When growers add the technology to their nutrient management programs, they are able to tie their results into data management systems and the results can be easily translated and integrated into existing software programs. The results provide a nutrient crop profile, similar to a blood profile, so a grower can return to the data in future years, and replicate exactly the sap profile of preferred crops.
Crop Health Labs in offering three webinars for crop consultants, growers, and one specific to soybean producers. All webinars will be recorded and available for viewing or purchase following the event.
- June 30, 2015: Hosted in partnership with the American Association of Agronomy
1:00 PM EDT
"Best Practices for Sap Analysis Application: Consultants and Clients Review "
Daniel Davidson, PhD and Sjoerd Smits, co-founder of NovaCropControl Laboratory
Registration available at www.agronomy.org/education/online-courses/sap-analysis-webinar
- July 7, 2015: Hosted in partnership with the American Soybean Association
2:00 PM EDT
"Sap Analysis Application for Soybean Producers"
Daniel Davidson, PhD
Registration available at www.crophealthlabs.com
- July 14, 2015: Hosted in partnership with Advancing Eco Agriculture
7:00 PM EDT
"Sap Analysis: The Competitive Edge Consulting Firms"
John Kempf, CEO of Advancing Eco Agriculture
Registration available at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8180054616796989953