“Last year, I ran into an agronomist from Red Gold – a big tomato processor in Indiana and told him about Holganix,” reflects Mark Sybouts, Sales and Product Development Manager of Holganix distributor, Advanced Turf Solutions.
Red Gold processes 12,000 acres of tomatoes from the Indiana, Michigan and Ohio regions.
Sybouts proposed doing research with the Holganix Agriculture product and was offered a spot in the Red Gold demo plot.
Setting up the test plot
The plot contained enough space to plant and study two rows of tomato crops, each row totaling 130 feet in length.
After discussing the idea with Dr. Bob, Holganix’s Director of Plant and Soil Sciences, Sybouts decided to test a four Holganix application program on the tomatoes to look for fruit yield or quality increases.
One row would be treated with Holganix and the second would act as a control however, both rows would receive the same quantity of inputs.
Seven days after transplanting the tomatoes, Sybouts applied his first round of Holganix Agriculture at 1.7 gallons per acre. Four weeks later, he did a second application at half that rate.
“Before I did the third application, I studied the plants carefully by randomly selecting four plants and counting and weighing the fruit to conduct a statistical analysis.
There was no visual difference between those tomatoes treated with Holganix and those not treated with Holganix.” Disappointed, Sybouts applied the third application.
Analyzing the data
After the third application, Sybouts was pleased that he could now see a difference in the plants.
“The foliage was greener but I couldn’t see a visible difference in the fruit" (see picture comparison above).
Intrigued, Sybouts decided to forego doing the last application as harvest was only one week away.
“The next week I hand harvested the plot by selecting 4 random plots that were 5 feet long in each row," says Sybouts. "I segregated the fruit into piles of: Red, red-yellow, and green, weighed the fruit from each plot and ran a statistical analysis. Those tomatoes treated with Holganix yielded 51.3 tons per acre while the untreated came in at 46.7 tons per acre with a 90% statistical significance. That’s a 10x payback over the cost of the Holganix used per acre."
That experiment raised some eyebrows in the industry. “As a result, we are now testing what Holganix Agriculture can do from a commercial perspective,” says Sybouts.
“The beautiful thing in the agriculture business is that there is no mistaking an increase in value. It’s objective. It’s all about the money. There’s no arguing with the money,” says Sybouts. And, with a 10x payback using Holganix, it will be interesting to see what happens during their commercial tomato testing.