Building Crop Health For Today And Tomorrow

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I’ve been traveling around California looking at the various stages of crops emerging from dormancy. There have been some areas that have experienced a considerable amount of rain and the soils remain very damp if not boggy. I hear many growers rejoicing about soil moisture profiles this season relative to what they endured over the last several years. If cover crops are an indicator, most crops should be in very good shape going into the new season as the soil dries out and comes to life.

Many growers share their belief that crops need “extra” help in drought years and not so much help in the non-drought seasons, but I would wholeheartedly disagree. If anything, we need to feed our crops more this season to give our perennials every chance to grow, strengthen and rebound – unless you think abundant rain is the new condition going forward. This is a time to take advantage of the situation as our crops have endured some serious hardship for a long period of time and may have to be in position to do so again in the not-so-distant future.

So what’s the process for “bulking up,” so to speak, our crops? There are several ways to do so.

  1. Apply Compost Teas: I’m a big fan of composting but they take a long time before crop impact. However, compost teas can improve soil biology right away. They immediately contribute to a crop’s capability to process nutrients in a faster, more efficient manner.
  1. Load up on Nutrients: Foliar sprays combined with biostimulants have a synergistic impact on crops, allowing them to absorb nutrients more expeditiously and promoting root exudation. Beneficial bacteria and fungi living in the soil grow and expand the rhizosphere. This synergistic process pushes nutrients back to the plant, contributing to leaf growth, size and plant energy.
  1. Introduce Biostimulants: Plant biostimulants contain substances that when applied to plants or the rhizosphere stimulate natural processes to enhance/benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality. Biostimulants are the key to amplifying plant yields and quality to new levels.

Andaman Ag has been in the forefront of combining organic and sustainable products in an effort to optimize plant and soil health. Here are some of the products that we recommend to “bulk up” perennial crops.

MetaGrow ST is an aerobic earthworm compost tea that restores soil health. It contains aerobic microbe metabolites that immediately restore the nitrogen cycle and nutrient availability to the plant and balance to the soil.

Andaman Ag offers complete foliar fertilizer products, Agrostim, Agroprime (OMRI) and Supergrow with 17 offering the 17 ingredients that all plants need  (N, K, Ca, Mg, P, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, B, Zn, Mo, Amino Acids, etc.) in a ratio that optimizes their being processed or taken up by the plant. We also offer Sea-Crop, a liquid concentrate containing an abundance of elements and minerals from seawater that positively impacts the exchange capacity in soils. This hardy microbial and micronutrient-loaded package stimulates root exudation, leading to greater root uptake and resulting in leaf growth and greater photosynthesis.

Biostimulants, like CropBioLife, have been shown to stimulate or inhibit rhizobial nodule gene expression. Flavonoids create, through biosynthesis, natural triggers to plant health including increased nutrient uptake by the plant.

Pacific Gro, another biostimulant, is one of the only fish hydolysate products that’s cold processed and therefore very alive and enzymatic. It helps build organic matter as the fish oil and chitin are the preferred foods for fungal life. In addition, chitin provides plant-available calcium and contributes to silica uptake in the plant.

These are just a few of the products that we offer growers to support consistent plant health and performance for the long term. I would be glad to go into more detail about our products and approach if requested.