Soil Health Lab, a leader in providing sap analysis and soil testing for growers, will be exhibiting at the Organic Grower Summit armed with some enticing opportunities for attendees.
First and foremost, the company will have a mini lab set up in its booth to conduct free soil tests measuring nitrogen, ammonium, pH level, and labile carbon. “We are asking growers to bring in a single soil sample, and we will analyze it on the spot,” said Eric Morgan, who founded the company 15 years ago.
Eric Morgan, Member Manager, Soil Health Lab
Soil Health Lab professionals working in the booth will also give growers recommendations on how to improve their soil once their sample has been analyzed. Morgan expects that they will be able to run 50–100 analyses during the two-day event.
“If we get overwhelmed, we will take any samples we aren’t able to run back to the lab and promise the analysis within a couple of days,” he said.
“We are asking growers to bring in a single soil sample, and we will analyze it on the spot." - Eric Morgan
The rapid turnaround time for its sap analysis is the company’s top value proposition. Farming, Morgan said, is a dynamic profession in which real-time information about the condition of the soil is critical for making the right input decisions.
Having the optimum amount of nitrogen in the soil—not too much nor too little—is the key to healthy growth and good yields, Morgan said, and he referred to sap analysis as “blood work” for a plant.
“It is essential that growers use just enough nitrogen to produce the healthiest plants,” he said, adding that nitrogen is an expensive input, and it can be just as harmful to a grower’s bottom line to use too much as it can be to use too little.
Currently, Soil Health Lab tests soil for its many customers on about 50,000 crop acres, mostly in the Salinas Valley and the winter desert production areas in Imperial Valley California. Morgan boasts that the company has “the most robust, technically precise testing system” in the ag industry, which works hand-in-hand with its ability to offer same-day results and advice.
Nitrogen can be an environmental hazard that finds its way into the groundwater table, and California water board regulations require annual testing of crop land. Soil Health Lab does much more frequent testing as its business model calls for testing at the beginning and end of every crop cycle. The company asks its customers to drop off their soil samples at the lab in the Salinas Valley or mail them in.
“It is essential that growers use just enough nitrogen to produce the healthiest plants." - Eric Morgan
To further interest growers in its services at the Organic Grower Summit (OGS), Soil Health Lab will be giving away a drone valued at $1,000 to one lucky grower during the show.
Morgan, who is both member manager at Soil Health Lab and the vice president of environmental science and resources for Braga Fresh, will be a busy guy at OGS as he is also slated to be a presenter during the educational session on regenerative agriculture.
He calls regenerative ag “organics plus” and is a firm believer that a true practitioner of regenerative farming must start with the elimination of conventional crop protection chemicals. (Morgan noted that he is expressing his own personal opinion and not that of his employer.)
“I believe regenerative ag is the common denominator that really addresses the environmental concerns that commercial farming creates,” he said. “Consumers are changing. We have to address the desires of Gen Zs and millennials who want their food to be produced in a truly sustainable manner.”
“Consumers are changing. We have to address the desires of Gen Zs and millennials who want their food to be produced in a truly sustainable manner.” - Eric Morgan
Morgan added that the trials being conducted at Braga Fresh incorporating regenerative ag practices have been very successful and are proving the concept. “We are getting really amazing results in the work we are doing at Braga,” he said. “This is a road map for the future. I do believe regenerative ag is the way to go as we move down that road.”