A new nutrient test can be used on apples as well as 100 other crops.
A new nutrient test can be used on apples as well as 100 other crops.

Bellville, Ohio-based Crop Health Laboratories has begun offering plant diagnostics that it claims reveal crop nutritional deficiencies four to six weeks sooner than traditional dry matter tests.

The plant sap analysis, developed by Netherlands-based NovaCropControl, can be used on 100 different crops to analyze actual nutrient uptake by the plant, according to a news release.

“Sap analysis carries the same diagnostic value of a blood sample,” program director Michelle Gregg said in the release. “The test provides a screenshot of nutrient content in the sap prior to metabolism by plant cells. Producers can anticipate crop needs and counter imbalance with fertility inputs before the plant expresses symptoms of deficiency.”

The analysis tracks nutrient flow throughout the growing season and compares it to target values established for each developmental stage.

The company recommends plant sap analysis be conducted weekly or biweekly, depending on the crop's growing period. The analysis runs $45-$75 per set, depending on volume.

Samples are sent to the Netherlands for analysis, but Crop Health Laboratories plans to open a testing facility in the United States in 2016, according to the release.