Crop Health Laboratories Puts Plants on a Diet

Jamie JohansenAgribusiness, Crop Protection

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 4.25.25 PMAvailable to U.S. growers for the first time, Crop Health Laboratories is providing diagnostics that reveal crop nutrition deficiencies 4-to-6 weeks sooner than conventional dry matter tests. This powerful predictive technology allows growers to adjust fertilization strategies quickly and precisely well before damage becomes visible.

The revolutionary plant sap analysis – developed by Netherlands-based NovaCropControl and distributed exclusively in the U.S. by Crop Health Laboratories – reveals important information about the health status of over 100 different crops by analyzing the actual uptake of nutrients by the plant. An optimal and balanced uptake of nutrients has a positive effect on the plant’s natural disease resistance, yield, and the quality, firmness and shelf life of fruits.

“Sap analysis carries the same diagnostic value of a blood sample,” explained Program Director Michelle Gregg. “The test provides a screenshot of nutrient content in the sap prior to metabolism by plant cells. Producers can anticipate crop needs and counter imbalance with fertility inputs before the plant expresses symptoms of deficiency.”

Crop Health Laboratories’ plant sap analysis allows growers to save on fertility inputs by generating a precise diet based on the plant’s actual demand. Growers using plant sap analysis realize savings on fertilizers as well as a fungicides and pesticides.

The plant sap analysis tracks nutrient flow throughout the growing season and compares the levels to established target values at each stage of development. Plant sap analysis should be performed weekly or biweekly, depending on the crop’s growing period. Crop Health Laboratories’ plant sap analysis is priced at $45-$75 per set, depending on volume.