Weathering the Storms

by Bill Schwoerer

For growers along California’s Central Coast, this year has been an extraordinary contrast following years of long-standing drought.  While the storms replenished aquifers, we are still feeling consequences from the barrage. Soggy soils and a persistent marine effect have led to several problems, including reduced acreage due to missed early plantings, increased disease pressure, a multi-week delay in crop maturity, and missed fertility applications as equipment couldn’t get into fields.

The sluggish spring has given way to summer, and I’m working with growers on several fronts to try to clear the hurdles that have been in place all year. This is a crucial time for growers to invest in their crops to help assure volume and quality – especially considering strong produce markets for many commodities and the increasing demand for quality from consumers and retailers.

Our proven strategy employs Redox technology to give plants the best environment to thrive. We’re incorporating H-85™ to improve nitrogen efficiency, as well as Rootex™ and RootRx™ to stimulate root growth and aid plant establishment.

Incorporating Mainstay™ Si and/or diKaP™ in foliar applications helps overcome the constant cloudy conditions that has hurt plant transpiration. This has led to a range of issues, including tip burn in lettuce, blackheart in celery as well as reduction in fruit quality in berries. diKaP™ fits in well with foliar sprays and soil applications, boosting plant potassium to make sure plant respiration is as efficient as possible.  Adding diKaP™ and Mainstay™ Si is easy, compatible and complementary to most pesticide and fungicides and adds to efficiency of application as growers are already paying for the application for their pesticide and fungicide applications so why not add the benefits of nutrition at the same time.

Soil-applied Mainstay™ Calcium 2.0 provides a key influx of calcium, which encourage firm, good-sized berries and contributes to soil health.  It is also becoming better understood how calcium not only is critical to strong cell wall development, it also is critical in the stress messaging response network in plants.

Because planting schedules have been significantly delayed and transplants have been held too long in some cases, we’re noticing some issues with increased “transplant shock”, slow establishment and premature blooms in vegetable transplants like peppers.  This can lead to problems as the crop tries to set fruit before building enough canopy and lead to potential fruit quality problems due to limited canopy coverage.  Excellent ways to get on an improved track include incorporating RootRx™ to foster plant establishment and DermaPlex+™ for root growth and canopy development.

Finally, we largely assume a heat spell will eventually come, and growers need to prepare for that likelihood. We will soon be looking at potassium, calcium and silicon to supplement plants to help overcome late summer heat and the strong winds that usually come with it.

This multi-faceted approach has paid dividends in several crops, both conventional and organic.

Application rates vary among the various crops we work with, but due to the ultra-efficient nature of Redox technology, the amount of our materials that are needed is a small fraction of conventional inputs.  Growers often find that when incorporating Redox products in their program, their costs are reduced and quality and productivity increased.

We have had victories, where through a meticulous approach with inputs, our growers have been able to capitalize on strong markets with their vegetables and berries. When that happens, it’s a win for the vital agricultural industry and for a country dependent on productive farms.

Bill Schwoerer
Bill Schwoerer has extensive experience in the agricultural industry including roles focused on crop nutrition, biostimulants, and vegetable seed. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University. His track record includes building mutually successful relationships for several agriculture companies including AlgaEnergy, Concentric™ Ag Corporation, Valent® USA, Harris Moran® Seed Company, Seminis® Vegetable Seeds, Inc., Abbott® Laboratories, and A. Duda and Sons®.
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