I attribute much of our rapid learning and our track record of success at Advancing Eco Agriculture to one foundational principle. Don’t guess about anything you can measure.
Growers learn about the successes we have had reducing disease and insect pressure with specific nutrient combinations, and immediately ask the question “How much of these minerals do I need to apply to get these results?”
If we were to answer this question blind, with no data, the only reasonable recommendation is to err on the high side and make sure our recommendations are generous, otherwise, they might not work. Quite likely, the grower ends up applying products beyond what is actually needed for success. For sound recommendations that are the least expensive, and the most effective, you need good data.
A second question that gets asked almost immediately, “How much does a test cost?”
When this question gets asked to determine whether we can ‘afford’ to conduct a test, it must surely rank as one of the most shortsighted agronomy questions.
A much better question is, “How much does it cost to apply a quart of product you don’t need on a block or field?”
The biggest limiting factor in many fields is the excesses of products growers apply. This costs twice, once when you pay for the product the crop didn’t need, and again in reduced yields and quality.
Bottom line, use plant sap analysis on a consistent basis through the entire plant growing period so you know intimately what is happening with nutritional integrity. To do any less is shortsighted, penny wise and pound foolish, as the saying goes.
Don’t guess. Test.