Releasing the Right Nutrients

Helping Plants Survive Challenging Growing Conditions

Published in the August 2013 Issue Published online: Aug 04, 2013
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According to the USDA, "no single practice works alone to enhance soil function, and no single set of practices works everywhere. Aim to improve soil organic matter and soil function, rather than to implement a particular set of practices."

John Witzke, founder of Water Right Technologies, understands that the key to improving a grower's soil lies in a multi-faceted program that scientifically assesses indicators specific to each farm, especially during times of challenging growing conditions. It is especially important to consider all factors involved with farmlands-water, soil composition, minerals, climate and location. However, it is vital to understand the key role that the composition of growers' irrigation water plays in crop growth and yield in order to combat unexpected environmental challenges.

"A healthy plant will be more resistant to stresses such as drought, heat, wind or cold," John says. "To be healthy, a plant needs the right nutrients. But what many growers don't realize is that a plant takes up only one percent of its nutrients from just the soil. The rest of the nutrients have to be available to a plant through the soil solution, or the soil/water mixture."

The soil tests typically used by growers to determine the kind of fertilizers and soil additives that their land needs oftentimes don't take into account the fact that each grower's irrigation water is unique. Soil testers typically mix the grower's soil with a weak acid solution that sits for 24 hours, and then they test that solution to see what nutrients the soil needs.

"Water Right Technologies takes that testing process a step further by mixing the grower's soil with his own irrigation water," says John. "We want to mimic the actual soil mixture from growers' fields in order to target the problem and provide a lasting solution."

Growers who don't take into account the characteristics of their individual soil solution may end up treating the soil with the wrong products or overwater their fields. For example, John recently worked with one grower whose soil was high in sodium.

"He kept putting gypsum on the crops-calcium-sulfate to combat the sodium-but he was not taking into account that the water was high in calcium already. So by adding more calcium, he unknowingly added more and more sulfates. The situation was made worse because the wrong product was being put into the soil, and in the end the crop suffered," John says.

After studying an individual farm's needs through WRT's thorough testing and analysis process, John makes recommendations not only on which products to use but also how growers can begin to use sustainable farming methods (such as composting) that can cost-effectively help plants get the nutrients they need.

A native to California, John has been farming for over 30 years, growing almonds, walnuts, peaches and grapes in orchards throughout the state. John's family also owned an agricultural laboratory for 20 years, so he's very familiar with the challenges facing today's growers. John founded Water Right Technologies with the commitment to restoring life to the soil and nutrition to foods by providing growers customized strategies and sound, sustainable solutions that enhance their own farms and croplands. Water Right Technologies uses accurate soil and water analyses and quality products to improve plant and human health and foster true environmental stewardship.

"We are committed to restoring life to the soil and nutrition to our foods by providing growers with sound, sustainable solutions, using quality products that improve plant and human health and foster true environmental stewardship," John says. "We want to help growers not only survive challenging growing conditions, especially the drought, but grow better, healthier, stronger crops over the long term."