“Other farmers talk to my customers and say ‘hey, we want to do what you’re doing.’ If they see something is successful in an orchard, they want to get similar results,” Arnie Cramer, a PCA with Nutrien Ag Solutions, said. Consistency and positive outcomes, including higher yield, healthier trees, and strong return on investment, are key goals of the growers he works with.
For a large walnut and almond operation in Northern California, these key goals ring true. When Arnie told them about the Trace Genomics soil health test, they were interested in evaluating the biological profile of soil in moderate and low performing blocks of their walnut orchard.
Their soil report included a custom analysis that compared results to sampling depth and soil type. “When the results came back, the grower was shocked,” Arnie said. “We were 180 degrees away from what he thought the problem was. He was getting ready to buy and apply 10 tons of compost, but it turns out the issue was actually phosphorus availability and phytophthora.” To address this, Arnie recommended applying phosphorus and Loveland Soil Maximizer.
“We were 180 degrees away from what he thought the problem was.”
Arnie intends to sample annually so that he can see trends in the soil health over time and continue to make data-backed recommendations. “Walnut and almond trees have a lot of life in them, and we need to take regular care of them to keep yield high over the years,” he said. “If you neglect them, they decline pretty fast. It’s really hard to bring a tree back once it has been damaged.”
Dr. Jerome Pier, who has been an agronomist with Nurtrien Ag Solutions for nearly 20 years, has also seen growers who were surprised by the findings Trace Genomics’ report surfaced. In one example, Jerome said the report helped diagnose post-storage issues for an onion grower in Novato, CA. After storing, the interior of the onions was deteriorating. The report revealed a bacterial issue that the grower was unaware of. “It’s the only technology that we have for pathology that allows us to do a fishing expedition,” Jerome said. “Most pathology labs need you to tell them what you think the problem is, but with the Trace Genomics test you don’t need to know in advance. It’s great for problem solving.”
“I can sleep at night knowing that I recommended the right thing because I actually know what the problem is.”
Arnie has seen that his growers are willing to pay for additional nutrients and biologicals if he can back up his recommendations with data. “I can look at your reports, and I can sleep at night knowing that I recommended the right thing because I actually know what the problem is,” he said. “Before, we were just throwing darts with the biologicals.” Arnie is confident that by utilizing the insights provided by the Trace Genomics soil health test, he will be able to help farmers increase yield, extend tree lifespan, and improve overall tree health.
Interested in more customer success stories? See how Trace Genomics helped a berry grower identify issues in underperforming blocks, see full story here.