Reading the Fields

Reading the Fields
with Dave de Vries

I would like to welcome you to my monthly newsletter: Reading the Fields
I hope that this brings insightful tips, thoughts and tools into your life.

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28
May
2020

Growing Season in Full Swing

 

Growing season is in full swing here in Ontario. I cannot believe the weather in my town, 2 weeks ago we had snow for two full days and now it is 30 degrees almost every day! With some help from the rain, we will start to see our plants poking up from the ground. 

As their heads poke up from the ground, it is time to begin walking the fields and paying attention to the plants need. Personally, this is my favourite time of the year! Over the last 17 years I have walked fields across North America with so many great people and so many friends. So many different crops being grown, but everyone is working hard to raise the best crops; seeing growth exploding from the ground daily, warm weather, cold drinks and time spent outdoors. Walking the fields and seeing great, healthy plants popping up is just the cherry on top of the cake. 

Speaking of walking in the fields, I recently purchased a new home with my wife, Anna. When she arrived here from Germany, she could not believe the amount of grass on everyones' property. “We certainly cannot eat it and we do not own cows…why do we have so much grass” she said. From day one, I could see the excitement in her eyes and the creativity weaving throughout her brain as she envisioned a landscape that is green and flourishing, but not with grass…

DDV Garden 1

Every day I come home from work now to an
edible landscape on its way. We have
apple, peach, pear, cherry and plum trees, bushes full of berries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, currants and the list goes on. Anna has taught me the value of using the space that nature gives us. Your home should be surrounded by trees, bushes and plants of all kinds that have sustenance to offer. We even designed a living fence using mulch, branches and integrated growing vines. This has become a home for insect life and snakes. Our privacy is secure, and all of our plants now keep it that way. Everything was planted with MycoApply and a blend of TrueHume, SeaPack, micro’s, molasses and water. Now,  every single one of our plants has budded and each evening we get to take a walk through our landscape, drinks in hand, and observe new, daily growth. Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, peas, potatoes, kale and much more are all thriving and receive a weekly foliar feeding of Triple ten or TrueStim. These are nutrient-based fertilizers that can help your plants thrive. 


I am so excited to pick my dinner every night, from my backyard, all organic. 

I grew up on a dairy farm and I miss the days of eating straight from my garden. Soon I am going to do that again, and enjoy so much more. My friend, Graeme Sait, often talks about all of his gardens and I encourage each of you to take an area of your farm or property and plant as many types of fruit trees, berry bushes and vegetables as you can, take the time to foliar feed them and grownutritious food. 

 

DDV Garden 3

 

 

 

In a perfect world, we would walk through the fields of green with healthy, BIG plants sprouting from the ground, but as 2020 continuously reminds us, we are not living in a perfect world. As we walk our fields we may be reminded that, although the world is not perfect, it is beautiful, mysterious and exciting. It’s beautiful to watch healthy plants spring up, mysterious as you may see patches of fields a different colour, height or growth rate, and exciting tofigure out how to solve the mystery and help the plants to thrive again.

As I said before, I have walked hundreds of fields in the past 17 years and have gained a lot of knowledge and insight regarding Foliars and the different stages of plant growth. Here are my 3 main takeaways from my experiences in the fields: 

  1. Sampling is an invaluable tool that needs to be utilized. 

An experienced farmer will have an eye for their fields. The eye test is a tried and true method that farmers have been using since humans figured out how to put a seed in the ground, but as technology advances, we need to utilize it. Field monitoring tools (which can be found on Amazon) such as pH meters, Brix meters, etc. are simple ways for the farmer to do a good health check. Use your eyes, find the spots in your fields that may need extra attention and play doctor, use these tools to discover deficiencies, stresses and diseases. 

Not only do we have access to in-field monitoring, but we have access to professional testing. Tissue samples, when viewed in conjunction with soil samples, can give a farmer superior insight into the needs of their plants. 

A soil sample will show all of the nutrients in the soil and a tissue analysis will give a thorough view of what nutrients are being absorbed by your plants. Sometimes the nutrients in the soil can be ‘tied-up’ or bound to soil and unavailable to the plant itself. So without a tissue analysis, you may think your soil is thriving, but comparing a tissue and soil analysis can give you excellent insight into what is tied up in the soil. 

When you know what is tied-up in your soil you can use specific fertilizers and plant amendments that will be able to release those nutrients into a plant-available form. 

2. Foliar feeding is the direct shot your plants will thrive from.

Tissue and soil sample analysis will show you the nutrients your plant may be missing and which nutrients are tied-up in the soil. There are many soil-specific fertilizers that can release those bound nutrients, but that can take between 3-6 weeks. This is a long term solution but does not aid in the plants struggling for the nutrients right now. This is where foliar feeding comes into play. 

Foliar feeding is the direct shot in the arm your plants need to receive the nutrients they may be lacking and needing in the immediate future. 

Not only does foliar feeding directly infuse your plants with nutrients, but it can act as a protective coating for your plant. We offer a product called Dia-Life, which is a micronized, fully suspended diatomaceous earth. It is hard to find a diatomaceous earth product that you can foliar spray broadacre as well as in greenhouses without settling or clogging sprayers. For those of you unfamiliar with diatomaceous earth, it is fossilized remains of diatoms, which is a single-celled group of algae, and these fossilized remains are ground up and normally used as a powder due to the difficult process of keeping it in suspension. These fossilized diatoms are sharp and when coated onto a plant, will cut insects that land on them. We have seen great success in greenhouses, foliar spraying Dia-Life as a natural insect repellant. Feel free to contact me directly to learn more about the plant protectionfoliar spraying can offer. 

Foliar spraying is so incredibly beneficial to your plants’ health. During times of stress, heavy winds, drought, heat, foliar spraying can be that immediate ‘refreshing drink’ that will strengthen your plants. Foliar spraying our TrueStim can immediately encourage larger leaf sizes and increased photosynthesis, strengthen plants’ immunity to disease and stresses, and increase natural plant production.

3. There is a secret ingredient in foliar feeding that helps the conventional farmer just as much as the organic….

Foliar feeding is so beneficial to your plants' health and protection, and we all know foliar spraying with herbicides is a common practice among conventional farmers. There is a hidden gem that needs to be included in every foliar spray!

TrueHume Fulvic70 is our secret ingredient - Fulvic Acid. You can add fulvic to your nutritional fertilizers and even to your herbicide applications such as glyphosate. Using fulvic acid alongside your herbicide will allow you to reduce your herbicide application rate by up to 30% off the label rate for just $.51 per acre*! With a CEC of over 1400 and its microscopic size, fulvic acid acts as a huge carrier entering directly into the plant as plant food. Fulvic acid also works to break down any residual herbicide after application. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to make sure your foliar spraying is utilized to its full potential. 

As this season approaches and you start walking your fields feel free to contact myself or my team with any questions you may have. This is the most exciting time of year in your fields but also the most critical. This season, give your plants the extra boost they need and watch success follow. 


As always, my thoughts and hopes are with everything during this time. Stay safe and responsible! 


Sincerely, Dave

P.S. In a few years my landscape will be way more than my family can eat. You are welcome to come over with a basket and pick as you please!

Categories: Reading the Fields

29
April
2020

Importance of a Farmer

 

What an April it has been! I hope that everyone reading this is staying safe and healthy! We will get through this together as a community.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of our farmers for growing our food! I appreciate you so very much.

It is in times like this I am reminded, again, of the importance of our farmers. Life simply cannot go on without you and I tip my hat to you. It is also during these times I am reminded about how important the nutrients in our food truly are, and by extension, how important the nutrients in our soils and plants are. Not only is it important that farmers grow our food, it is vital that they grow healthy and nutritious food… food that strengthens immunity and can boost healing. My good friend Graeme Sait of NTS Australia has recently released an excellent 3-part article on this specific topic.

  

“…food that strengthens immunity and can boost healing.”

We are seeing every day that there is a big trend of farms moving towards regenerative, organic, creative and sustainable agriculture. Now more than ever, growers are utilizing more-natural practices such as cover cropping, minimal tillage, companion cropping and fertilizing with organic inputs. Let’s remember to focus on the nutrients as well!

 

All Nutrients Matter

IMG 3840
Plants need essential nutrients to function and a balance of these in proper ratios is important. Just like a recipe, each ingredient is important, the same applies to feeding a plant the nutrients it needs in available forms it can use. Don’t just concentrate on the “big 3” macronutrients (N-P-K)”, but also focus on the micronutrients as they all have an important role to play.

In order to grow nutritious food, the plants need to be fed the proper nutrients during the growth cycle. This care and attention that a farmer can give will help bring us much needed ‘real food’ back to the table.

 

How can your farm start looking at nutrition differently?

Take a Step Back

Take a step back and recognize just how important you are. You are the future of our world, our society and our planet. For this, you are truly, very important. “With great power comes great responsibility”. Holding the power to feed many people, growers also have a great responsibility to ensure that their foods are healthy and nutritious. Studies around the world are now showing that we don’t get enough nutrients from the food we eat. This can all be brought back to the soil and plants through the inputs we choose to apply. We are learning every day that people in North America and around the world are lacking the necessary nutrients to be healthy. Much of this is caused by nutrient deficiencies in the crops we harvest! Take a step back and recognize how important you are. You have the power to change the health of a generation.

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Realign your Focus

These are the days where focusing on N-P-K alone is just too narrowly focused. There are a plethora of other micronutrients our plants need to be healthy and we as humans also need to ingest. Health in a plant stems from the soil and the ingredients we supply. In my previous newsletter I spoke about pre-planning. Investing into the future and looking 5 years ahead, which ties directly into this. As you begin to plan for the coming years, realign your focus. Focus on the final outcome, the nutrients that our society needs to survive. We are here to help you and teach you what is important for the soil, plant and human health.

Soil Sampling and Tissue Analysis

This is the easiest way to start on the journey of looking at nutrition differently. I always tell my customers that I can never give them a great program until I have seen at least a soil sample. The soil is literally why there is a saying “From the ground up”, this is the first and most important thing to focus on at the start. Let’s look at the nutrients and biology in your soil and then when the time is right, look at tissue analysis and see what your plant absorbing from the soil. More importantly, is seeing what your plant is missing from the soil.

Sometimes soil may look rich in a certain nutrient, but due to its molecular structure it can be “locked up” and not available for plant absorption, a tissue analysis will reveal nutrients like this. Then you can foliar spray the exact nutrient formula to help the plant achieve its full nutritional value.

When a plant is at its full nutritional value you will see a better yield, less disease and pest pressure, a longer shelf life and a more satisfied customer. Ultimately you will see a healthier world.

Farmers, you have a chance to change the world and I believe that you have the power.

Thank you and stay safe,


Dave de Vries

Categories: Reading the Fields

15
April
2020

Introduction

from Dave de Vries

Welcome to Reading the Fields

March 19, 2020

 
Agriculture Solutions Inc.
 

As a company, Agriculture Solutions Inc. is entering its 10th year in business and we have decided to start sharing more of our thoughts, experiences and knowledge with you each month.
I am sure that most of you know who I am, but for those who I have never personally been in contact with, my name is Dave de Vries and I am the President of Agriculture Solutions Inc. I have been a professional agronomist since 2003 and I would like to continue sharing some of the things I have learned and experienced throughout years in the field. Many of you have become great friends and I truly appreciate that. This will be an excellent way for me to share ideas with you on a more regular basis.

March is often known as the Season of Planning amongst farmers and rightfully so! The time of reflecting on past seasons is over and it’s now time to look forward. I fully understand the gravity and sometimes fear of looking ahead, it's not always easy to plan for unknowns, but you are not alone. I am always a phone call or an email away, and I have an extensive team of sales reps and distributors who can help you plan out the season of growing that is now around the corner.

Why is planning so important? 

You wouldn't go camping without the supplies or go on a road trip without a map, and you shouldn't let your livelihood move forward without direction. A good friend of mine said that if he doesn’t already know what he is going to plant in his fields five years from now, he’s already behind. Think of it this way: when you have a baby, you feed it nutritious food from the beginning, knowing it will grow to be strong and healthy. You give its body nutrients so that in five years from now they will be able to run and jump and fall down without breaking bones. If you started feeding your child nutritious food at 5 years old, it would already be way behind, which would have consequences of its own. Planning ahead makes things easier in the long-run, sets you and your farm up for success, and makes adjustments later just that much easier. 

How can you plan today? 

The easiest thing to do is to think ahead. Not just for this season, but for the seasons going forward as well. Start planning to take soil and tissue samples which enable you to find deficiencies in your fields. Start planning for cover cropping and feeding back into your fields. Plan ahead for nutrient-rich fertility programs so you can grow great food. Get in touch with one of our agronomists. Our team has extensive knowledge that can help you look more holistically at your business, and find ways to make improvements. Our distributors have been trained and know the answers. Anything we don't know, we will find out, that’s our commitment to growing naturally with you. We can sit down with you and your team and start planning for a more successful, profitable and self-sustaining farm with something as simple as a five-year plan. 

In my upcoming emails I will aim to bring relevant topics and ideas to you all along with my knowledge and insight from years of experience.

Give us a call at 1-855-247-6548 or email me at [email protected]

As always I am grateful for all of you and I hope to bring great blessings to each of you.

Sincerely,

Dave de Vries
President
Agriculture Solutions Inc.

Categories: Reading the Fields