Testing, Testing!

Andy Churchin Chemicals & Fertilisers

Here at Ultra Soil Solutions Ltd, we are proud to have a customer base spanning both the fruit growing and sports turf industry. I am continually looking for ways in which one can learn from, and benefit the other.

They are both Industries that are going through monumental changes, striving for perfection, bottom line conscious and looking to make use of every available shred of advanced technology, as increasing amounts of products are removed from the shelves by the powers that be.

Over the past couple of years, I have seen a definite turn to the practises of the past, to help counter the fact that we are seeing immense pressure to ensure every chemical we apply, offers real value for money whilst being environmentally friendly and as important, LEGAL! It is here where I see the fruit growing sector being streets ahead of us grounds and greenkeepers! A prime example is testing! I am constantly amazed at the lack of testing carried out by turf managers, for both water and soil quality! An amazing number of managers rely on testing that is carried out by their suppliers.

Many of them are oblivious to the fact that the results are returned with an overwhelming lean towards the application of said company's products to bring things back into line?

The use of our GYP-FLO (liquid gypsum) to flush unwanted elements from soils and substrates, followed by regular independent testing, is wide spread in the fruit growing sector. This is now becoming common place with many sport turf managers. We encourage our customers to use the MLSN (Minimum Level Soil Nutrition) testing such as that offered by "The Soil Group". When compared to the in-house tests carried out by major product suppliers, the differences were startling! We have seen customers saving 75% on their fertiliser bills!

Water testing is as important. Using water with high PH levels in spray tanks is simply wasting your clubs hard earned cash! A simple and cheap PH tester and the use of an effective buffer such as "Ultra PHix" can ensure you get what you pay for in fungicide, herbicide and pesticide effectiveness. There appears to be little regard for the fact that applying many products with a tank full of water carrying a pH of 7-7.5 could render that product useless! In fact, in some cases you may as well be just spraying the water! If you know that your mix water has a pH of 7 or greater, consider lowering the pH, especially if you are applying a product that is sensitive to high pH. A pH of 4 to 7 is recommended for mixing most pesticides, a value of 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal.

Don't simply rely on the colour change buffers, as these can sometimes be inaccurate, with typical tolerances of .5 either way. Given that degradation of some products is ten times greater for every PH point, this can be an expensive oversight. Take two minutes to test the PH of each tank and simply add the required amount of buffer, followed by a final test. Testing your water once a year and using that as your barometer is risking washing your budget straight down the drain!

With a simple and cheap test of both your water and soils, you can potentially free up an amazing amount of your clubs hard earnt cash that can be spent more effectively elsewhere! In addition, the effectiveness of spray applications can be as per intended!

For more information please contact Ultra Soil Solutions Ltd on 07835 066439 www.ultrasoil.co.uk The Soil Group, www.thesoilgroup.co.uk