Updated: Sep 7, 2020
Healthier, tastier fruits are what consumers look for and of course a major goal for our growers, always putting their hearts, minds and sweat to provide fresh, nutritional sweet fruits.
Having said that, achieving high-quality fruits is an acrobatic irrigation challenge, a balancing act that requires careful fine-tuning of water delivery. Common practices by growers include deficit irrigation which might harm trees' health and future productivity or using hormones to artificially boost fruits.
A sweet transformational practice
By introducing Pytech's BRIX reference, we're happy to make this challenge, well, less challenging and much more manageable, efficient and eco-friendly
Soon to be recognized by the US patent office, Phytech's BRIX optimization practice is a scientifically proven method that has already helped our leading vines and citrus customers achieve higher BRIX values, by fine-tuning their water delivery according to trees' growth data.
For the first time in the history of farming fruit growers can manage and optimize the sweetness of their fruits by monitoring their trees and adapting irrigation. A natural, cost-effective and sustainable method to maximize BRIX with no long-term negative consequences on productivity, the produce or the environment.
Let's see how it works.
As with everything we do, our story starts with deciphering the biological mechanism of the trees and render it into a clear picture, which growers can quickly understand and efficiently act upon.
By connecting our fruit growers to their trees, we're not just helping them avoid stress, maximize yields, save resources and achieve their target fruit size - we're now helping them determine how sweet will they fruit of labor be.
The tree's energy dilemma and how we're helping him take the sweetest path
Generally speaking, when the tree reaches the reproductive stage, some energy will be allocated from the roots and canopy building - to the fruits, where it will be converted into sucrose, proteins and other solids (As manifested in a higher BRIX measurement).
The tree faces an "allocation dilemma" - how to distribute its energy between the fruits and the rest of its parts, in which water plays a key trigger for the path it will "choose".
Too much water can "convince" the tree that he can venture off to other activities such as canopy building instead of investing in reproduction. Excess water at this stage might result in a strong trunk growth rate, on the expanse of BRIX produced by energy going to the fruits. On the contrary, low availability of water caused by deficit irrigation might result in fewer sugars being created in the fruit, due to negative growth and yield-affecting stress.
In both scenarios, the tree will not "optimize" its BRIX potential. So how can growers use water to help the tree make the right "BRIX decision"?
Higher BRIX unlocked
Using in-field BRIX measurements during the season and postharvest, we found out that during September (for the Northern hemisphere fruit growers), stopping the growth and keeping the trunk in a minimal growth "safe zone", (what we call the BRIX reference) is the way to achieve higher BRIX and healthier, better-tasting fruits.
Phytech's irrigation recommendation, trees' growth graph and the fruit size trajectory all combine into a clear visual map (a "fruit-radar") to help growers surgically apply irrigation to keep their trees in the BRIX reference zone.
In a previous post, we discussed how our vines growers can identify veraison, a critical phase during the season, by monitoring the growth rate. Upon observing it, they then can switch to deficit irrigation, which will "push" sugars up to the vines and will result in higher BRIX.
Farming: Simplified. Manageable. Transformed.
The BRIX reference joins other decision support tools that serve together as an "agri-navigator", guiding our customers to their goals and reflecting our vision to transform farming and make it more manageable and efficient:
Irrigation reference - supports in determining the recommended irrigation strategy (quantity, frequency, duration and timing)
Fruit size target - a trajectory of the optimal path the fruit should "take" in order to arrive on time to the desired fruit size.
Plant reference - compare your trees' growth rate and health against a benchmark of the same trees (same age, same variety)