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"Translating tree talk" - A Good Fruit article covering Phytech through the eyes of our customers

Good Fruit magazine is a well established industry news and research source for orchard growers worldwide. In the current issue, Kate Prengaman talks with two of our customers as well as Washington State University physiologist Lee Kalcsits to learn how Phytech helps manage and optimize irrigation by connecting growers to the trees.

We'd like to thank all of them for sharing their insights as well as Kate and the Good Fruit team for the in-depth look and a great headline :)

Below are some excerpts from the article:

Adapting irrigation practices according to plant-based data

"The idea of looking at the plant needs instead of the soil was intriguing,” said Andrew Sundquist of Sundquist Fruit & Cold Storage, "Soil moisture sensors just tell you if it’s wet or not". Sundquist said in some blocks where he struggled to get fruit size or tree growth, he’s changed irrigation practices significantly. "One Granny Smith block that is usually one of the most stressed blocks on the farm looks better than it has in years", he said.

Avoiding too much stress

Gilbert Plath of Washington Fruit and Produce Co. was particularly interested in how Phytech can help him optimize deficit irrigation without causing too much stress. “We are trying to stress these trees out, and you can go too far. What Phytech is trying to show is that measurement of: ‘Here, you are crossing that line now,’” Plath said. “It has an easy-to-read graph that has a target line we should be on. We see the reaction, how much it grows or doesn’t grow when you water.”

Facilitating collaboration

Another benefit is that it helps managers keep an eye on irrigators across different ranches, Plath said. Sundquist said the data helps him work collaboratively with his irrigators to solve problems, too. “It takes what could be an adversarial issue, if something isn’t working out, but (having the data) makes it collaborative,” he said. Having the water pressure sensors that track irrigation applications has helped his irrigators detect clogged filters and flow restrictions.

Kalcsits, who plans to start studying the potential of sensor-informed irrigation this season, said: “One of the big advantages is that it’s a plant-based indicator of water stress; they integrate soil moisture, rootstock uptake, scion conductance and the environmental conditions these trees are living in".

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