The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Biostimulants in Your Crops

Sweet cherry grower Mike Omeg of Omeg Family Orchards is seeing significant benefits from his soil management program, which includes using biostimulants. But it’s not as easy as simply adding another product in your spray mix and calling it a day. Here are Omeg’s suggestions for successfully incorporating biostimulants in your production.

  • DO focus on covering the soil. “If I was going to cover the soil and not change any of my other management activities, that would enhance the crop a lot.”
  • DO consider the benefits of fish-based products. “Inject fish products in fertigation, apply them with foliar sprays, band them on. I’ve tried a lot of different products that are available and found the higher the oil content, the better.”
  • DO calibrate your plant nutrition through in-season sap analysis. “A healthy crop is going to provide to the soil. Focusing on what nutrients the trees need is fundamental to my approach.”
  • DON’T think you can have bare soil and just open up a jug and dump something in the spray tank and your problems are solved. “We’re dealing with biology; we’re dealing with nature. In my experience, you’re not going to have much success if you just try to fit one more product into your program and you don’t change anything else. Don’t fall into that trap.”
  • DON’T think that because something works for someone else it’s going to work for you. “It may work for you. It may not. But you need to really look at the reasons they’re doing what they’re doing. Look at the differences between their production systems and your management culture, your geography or geology, and your climate. Those all have impacts when we’re dealing with biostimulants, which is about working with living things.”
  • DON’T ever think you figured it out. “Don’t get comfortable and say you’ve got the recipe for success and you’re going to just cookie cutter it every year and do the same thing. Question everything. You need to constantly be looking for the opportunities.”