The South African agricultural group Agri Technovation has launched a new product that monitors the carbohydrate status of a fruit tree and enables corrective action if necessary to ensure an optimal harvest.
The technology is known as Itest Carbohydrates and is said to be particularly effective at combating alternation by helping to create a better balance between plants – which in turn leads to higher yields over time.
According to Erik de Vries, the joint managing director of Agri Technovation, the new tool has already proven itself with citrus farmers.
Multiple cultures, multiple countries
Itest Carbohydrates has recently expanded to the avocado industry as well and will soon be introduced to apples as well as macadamias, almonds, pecans, vineyards and mangoes, he said.
“We are looking at almost 20 different plants and we have made good progress on around 14 of them,” explains de Vries. “In the past two years, the technology has been used successfully in the South African citrus industry and the analysis program has already been developed down to the variety level. The citrus program is also refined area-specifically, which takes different climatic zones into account. “
Countries that have already got on board by submitting citrus and avocado samples to Agri Technovation’s analytical facility in Wellington, South Africa include the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Peru, Morocco, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Mexico, Chile and Spain have also shown interest and planning to receive their samples has begun, the company said.
How it works
The Itest carbohydrate analysis program monitors sugar and starch concentrations in leaves and roots at critical phenological stages throughout the season.
This involves routine analysis of tree roots and leaves, which are compared to a norm for sugar, starch and total carbohydrate content for the various phenological stages of the plant.
Any deviation from the norm allows for the timely development of management practices such as pruning, orchard manipulation and feeding programs that will ultimately help growers ensure optimal plant growth and annual production.
“I am convinced that this is a revolutionary breakthrough for agriculture,” said de Vries. “Essentially, the energy status information obtained from the analysis program allows us to get a picture of what will happen at the facility in the next month or two,” which in turn enables us to proactively correct management practices as needed apply.
“Over time, it will ensure a more constant supply of products to the market, which is not only good for the consumer, but also offers massive risk-reducing benefits for producers,” he said. “This includes better income streams and stronger balance sheets for farmers.”
According to Corné Liebenberg, Marketing Director at partner company Laeveld Agrochem, the introduction of the analysis program in South Africa’s citrus industry was “very successful” and “exceeded all expectations”.
“Almost all citrus growers want to be on board as it is one of the few, if not the only, methods that allow timely adjustments to be made that can have a significant impact on returns,” said Liebenberg. “Itest’s proprietary method of carbohydrates is a world first and is now sought after by countries like the United States, Spain and Australia.
“This is a game changer for the agricultural industry,” added Liebenberg. “So far there has been no way to really address seasonal times.
“Rather than reacting reactively to past events, Agri Technovation’s intellectual property enables fruit growers to look into the future as their fruit and nut trees will produce and then react proactively to ensure a productive harvest in the next Ensuring the season is higher harvests, better and more profitable farmers and increased foreign income from exports, which should secure more employment for the country. “