Root Brings Agriculture into the Future
"Based on the strength of the timely data we received from Root, we were able to spray far less than we ever thought possible with an organic program."
- Caleb Mosley, Viticulturist, Matthiasson Wines
"If you are a really high pressure vineyard, you could definitely utilize this technology to help save money and help as an early warning system for when you have mildew coming into your vineyard. On the other side, if you are a vineyard that rarely gets mildew, you can really use this to extend your intervals and cut out passes during the season."
- Brad Kurtz, Vineyard Director, Gloria Ferrer
At Root Applied Sciences, we are building tools to alert farmers when fungal pathogens arrive. The insight that we provide eliminates the need to overspray fungicides by enabling farmers to spray only when there is a real threat. The reduction in unnecessary fungicide spraying results in enormous cost-savings, increased yield, and numerous benefits to farm workers, consumers, and the environment.
Brad decided to lengthen his sprays because of our data showing that there was no powdery mildew in spring 2021. We didn't see any powdery mildew at any of Brad's five sensors until June 22, months after he began spraying. He lengthened the intervals between sprays from 8 to 14 days starting in May, cutting two sprays and saving $34,000. In addition, he was alerted when and where powdery mildew was present so that he could stay on control efforts at just the right time. Brad and his team first saw powdery mildew on July 7, more than two weeks after we first alerted him to the spores entering the vineyard. We also alerted Brad later in July to high pathogen pressure at only one of his sensors, which he confirmed was coming from a neighbor's vineyard.
Caleb had one of our sensors in a vineyard in Napa. Caleb started spraying much later than usual because our data showed that there was no powdery mildew. He also lengthened his sprays to every 21 days and stopped spraying altogether before powdery mildew first appeared in late July. He only sprayed three times in 2021 and never had symptoms until the end of July.
Kyle had three sensors in the Santa Cruz mountains, including one at a site that gets powdery mildew every year. The particular site is especially hard to spray as it is on a steep hillside. Historically, powdery mildew pressure is high even in the early season at this site, but our sensors showed that this year there was no powdery mildew until much later than expected. Our sensors detected powdery mildew's first arrival on June 8, and Kyle first detected symptoms on July 6.
Even in high pressure years, Root's pathogen monitoring system can help growers manage their crop more effectively. Just as spraying when the pathogen is not there is wasteful, not spraying when the pathogen arrives can create a domino effect that allows the pathogen to flourish. Moreover, knowing when and where powdery mildew pressure is very high can help growers better manage an outbreak through identification and elimination of pathogen sources, leafing, and adjustments to the spray program.
Spraying at the right time is the key to control the local powdery mildew population. Fortunately, Root identifies the spores when they are still in the air, giving growers at least a week to respond.
We are a group of scientists who believe that the agriculture deserves actionable information. Our expertise includes plant pathology, entomology, ecology, microbiology, soils, and engineering.