2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Sap Sensors Detect Plant Needs
“High-value crop producers and consultants are the likely customers of our plant sap sensors for nutrient levels,” says Declan Nicholson, Spectrum Technologies. “Row crop and broad acre crop producers are more likely to buy weather stations and soil moisture monitors.”
That said, the company’s broad array of sensors can reveal nitrate, potassium, sodium and calcium levels, pH and EC (electrical conductivity). A variety of chlorophyll monitoring devices can indirectly measure the amount of nitrogen in the plant, as well as relative plant health.
Prices vary widely, depending on the speed and accuracy of the readout. The SPAD 502 Plus chlorophyll meter produces a chlorophyll content reading in less than 2 sec. at a cost of nearly $2,500. However, for about $150, the Fieldscout GreenIndex app works with a smart phone and a dark green color index board to find recommended nitrogen rates and compare crop health under different fertility, fungicide or foliar treatments.
Pocket-sized meters can provide detailed readouts of nitrate, potassium, sodium and calcium in solutions, water samples or tissue sap. They can help detect deficiencies, as well as prevent over application. They range in price from $196 for pH and EC levels to $495 for calcium. For plant tissue sap tests of large or less succulent samples, the company offers a hydraulic plant sap press. The custom-built press extracts sap into a collection vial. It is priced at $550.
“Vegetable, fruit and nut growers are more likely to use the press,” notes Nicholson. “They will often order the nitrate and pH meters with it.”
He adds that cannabis growers (hemp and marijuana) are showing increased interest in both chlorophyll and nutrient meters.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Spectrum Technologies, 3600 Thayer Court, Aurora, Ill. 60504 (ph 815 436-4440; toll free 800 248-8873; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.specmeters.com).
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