Poor Fruit Set – FAQ
Monday, February 27, 2017
Dear Friends of Andaman Ag,
The last two of our newsletters have addressed problems and solutions associated with poor fruit set. I’ve received several questions and inquiries from growers and I’ve reached out to growers that are using our products to get their direct responses. Please note that CropBioLIfe (CBL) is manufactured and imported from Australia and Sea-Crop is manufactured in Washington State. Australia has experienced a similar weather pattern to California having endured a major drought and then heavy rains.
- Can CropBioLife (CBL) help where temperatures may likely be colder than previous years?
Paul (Australian Crop Advisor): The Mornington Peninsula region in Southern Australia experienced a very cold start to the summer and as a result, it was a very bad year for shatter. Paul stated that none of his CBL customers in the region experienced significant shatter. Given his experience as a soil and nutrition expert, he stated that a lack of boron as well as cold weather was the likely key cause of shatter. His programs always take advantage of the CBL nutrient synergistic effect. If he sees a nutrient deficiency, like a boron deficiency, he targets it along with a CBL spray. He’s also take advantage of CBL’s strengths in plant available nutrition in the soil.
- Can these products help promote greater photosynthesize in order to generate more energy for flowering and fruit set?
Greg (Grower): I think that a solution would be to have CBL combined with a product like Sea-Crop or even a seaweed (Aquasap) to boost root health. In theory, additional photosynthesis should help because you see it when vines are over-pruned you get more shatter because they cannot do enough “photosynthesizing.” I’ve seen CBL reduce shatter but have no hard data. I’ve seen it more when vines are being overcropped, the vine sacrifices berries early because it does not have the energy to produce. It can also result from un-pollinated flowers not turning into grapes. A cold period during flowering can cause this to occur. It can also be the result of low carbohydrates (energy) – you see it a lot on chardonnay. The post harvest spray can help vine store carbs over winter which helps in the vines have a more consistent set in the spring.
- What about other crops where CBL or Sea-Crop have made an positive impact?
Nick (Grower): Fava Beans are used as livestock and poultry feed, for a cover crop, and as either a green or dry vegetable. We had a very stressed Fava Bean crop. Mostly weather stress which resulted in dropping pods. When we applied CBL, we were able to prevent the pods from being aborted. The agronomist on site had already written the crop off so he was amazed that it came back. We only have anecdotal data but first, CBL has a nutrient synergist effect that drives better nutrition. If a high boron blend is sprayed with CBL prior to bud burst then you can mitigate the effect of low boron. Second, CBL when used as part of the total spray program, will deliver healthier plants. The main advantage here is that this health is directly related to photosynthetic activity. We’ve witnessed many times where plants go to a darker green color after a CBL spray and we’ve had grass grow in shade when sprayed with CBL just before and during the growth season. We know that CBL drives better photosynthesis. We also have data that shows that phenolic compounds can be stimulated in the plant using CBL sprays.
Larry (Grower): When evaluating a material, we look for the most complex materials available. Natural materials that have higher micro, trace and ultra trace elements tend to be more effective in biological soil systems. Our lab analysis revealed that Sea-Crop has very low concentrations of sodium and chlorine, while magnesium, sulfur, potassium, carbon, calcium, boron, iodine, iron, silicon and selenium, just to name a few of the over 70 elements detected, were predominant. The carbon is what really got my attention. Come to find out, the microbial biomass in the Pacific Ocean where the Sea-Crop concentrate is derived from is approximately two and half times greater than the biomass in biologically active soils. Not only is that astonishing, it means that a lot of complex organic matter must be released into the ocean, and it’s very similar to the organic substances released by microbial activity in soils. Armed with that new information, I decided to apply Sea-Crop on numerous vegetables, ornamentals and fruit trees. In my experiences using many products over the years, it is extremely rare to see positive or distinguishable results from the application of a single product and we did.
The reason that Andaman Ag has experienced excellent results in using biological products is linked to applying a combination of products. The combination of products is something we’ve been working on for years to perfect our results. This is the critical time to plan your approach to the season in an effort to mitigate the impact of what will likely be a wet and cold spring. As mentioned previously, we support early application of our soluble dry foliar fertilizers (Agroprime, Agrostim Supergrow and dry seaweed extract product (Aquasap). These unique products, given their comprehensive structure, have an established history of unseating products that growers have used forever as they produce superior yields, uniformity, quality and play a role in improved disease resistance.