What is a Monitoring Program?

The Crop Monitoring Program is a carefully designed plan which enables growers to check systematically the status of the nutrients in their plants and act accordingly. By following this program, growers can obtain vital information about the nutrient levels of plants during the critical growing cycles and add or modify the fertilizer intakes of their plants to maximize  the yields.

Why a Monitoring Program?

Peat or sandy soil nutrients are easy to leach or wash out from the cranberry bogs. Nitrogen is a nutrient which is contained in soils and sediments chiefly as a complex organic substance in the form of ammonia, molecular nitrogen, and nitrate.  It needs to be monitored often because of its variable nature.  Due to fluctuations in moisture and temperature of the soil, nitrogen loss can take place through leaching, volatilization of ammonia, or denitrification.  Loss of other nutrients can also occur.  But deficiencies of some nutrients like sulfur, boron, and molyb denum are hard to recognize visually.  However, a complete tissue analysis can often detect a nutrient deficiency before symptom appear in the plant.

Diagnosis of "hidden hunger" can be followed by a proper treatment by observing tissue crop monitoring program.  It has been found that once the symptoms of nutrient deficiency appear in the plant, it is usually too late to avoid production loss.  Therefore, a crop monitoring program, like the one administered by K Laboratories, is very crucial to healthy growth and production of plants.

How Many Crop Monitoring Programs are Available?

K Laboratories offers intensive crop monitoring programs for various crops including ginseng, blueberry, strawberry, cranberry, and some other high valued crops.

If you have questions, please contact K Lab's agronomist and soil scientist.  Our agronomists are certified by many professional organizations including Ameri can Society of Professional Agricultural Consultants.

Given below is a brief description of a cranberry crop monitoring program.  This will give you an idea of the entire process of monitoring nutrition and the steps that have to be taken to ensure optimum output.

 Cranberry Crop Monitoring Program

K Lab's Cranberry Intensive Crop Monitoring Program provides growers with an effective crop management system which can be utilized in adjusting cranberry ferti lization during both the active growing season and during the following year's crop.

Properly balanced fertilization of the cranberry plant is very important for setting buds for the next year. Complete and balanced fertilization of cranberry depends on factors such as cranberry variety, fertilizer sources, fertilizer time, moisture, temperture conditions, and soil type.  Loss of Nitrogen is more serious in very sandy acidic soils of cranberries. There are special nutrient interactions in soil between phosphorus and zinc, magnesium and potassium, calcium and boron, iron and manganese,nitrogen and molybdenum.  It is improtant to understand their relationships in soil before makein cranberry fertilizer recommendations.

Chemical Process

Chemical transformations take place in cranberry soil after sprinkling water continuously for six hours and letting water stand in bogs.  Soil undergoes a drastic submergence transformation.  Organic matter produces unstable substances followed by the evolution of CO2 and CH4. Also, decomposition of organic matter in cranberry soil produces H2, Methane, NH3, Aminos, Hydrogen Sulfide, and partially humidified residues.

A number of biochemical reactions take place in cranberry soils which ultimately release plant nutrients and carbon. The two main transformations of carbon in nature are photosynthesis and respiration.  The balance between these two processes depend on
(a) the amount of organic matter that accumulates in soils and sediments and (b) the quality of water in streams, lakes, and estuaries.

Pyruvic acid metabolism in cranberry soil is probably the same in aerobic and anaerobic soils.  For example, cellulate is hydrolyzed to soluble sugar by extracellular enzymes.  The sugar then enters the microbial cell and is hydrolyzed further to glucose which is then oxidized to pyruvate.

C6H12O6 + 2ATP = 2NAD+ =
2CH3COOH + 4ATP + 2NADH = 2H+

Pyruvic acid in cranberry soil with organic mater undergoes a variety of changes which is determined by pH, redox potentials, osmotic pressure, the available electron acceptors, and the microorganisms present.  Since cranberry soil contains a wide variety of microorganisms, the application of organic substance and sugar may be a good practice in a cranberry fertilizer program. K Labs research has shown a positive  response to the application to peat bogs. Nitrogen is usually applied to producing bogs in the form of NHP4+.  When urea is applied to  bogs, they rapidly undergo the following transformation.

CO (NH2)2 + H2O = (NO)2 CO3

Ammonium carbonate, the resulting product, is unstable and breaks apart into carbon dioxide and NO+ which are absorbed on humus in the soil. Temperature has a marked effect on ammonium released in cranberry soils.  As long as temperatures remain below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bacterial activity is insufficient to promote significant nitrifi cation and the transformation of NO+ to NO.  Once NO+ is converted to NO, it can be lost from the soil by either denitrification or leaching.

When water is applied continuously for sometime, almost all the mineralogical nitrogen in a soil is converted to ammonia within 5-10 days.  This would affect cranberry production if additional nitrogen is not supplemented.  We have noticed nitrogen deficiencies in many cranberry bogs at early fruit formation during the 1988 blossom season in central Wisconsin.  Yellowing occurs due to loss of mineral and sulfur from the soil.

Biological Nitrogen  Fixation in Cranberry Soils

The fixation of nitrogen biologically is a process by which nitrogen gas is reduced to ammonia.  This reaction needs reduction at a very high or very low electron activity. Photosyntheses and anaerobic  respiration are the two major natural sources of these reductions.

Cranberry soils with blue green algae at thesurface and nitrogen fixing bacteria in thebulk of the soil are this favorably placed for nitrogen fixation.

Nitrogen fixation by free living bacteria in cranberry soils are perhaps equally important because the environment of a flooded soil is suited to both aerobic and anaerobic nitrogen fixers. The blue green algae and other genera, nostoc, anabaena, ocillatoria, tolypothrix, calothrix, phormidium, aulosira and several others can fix nitrogen in cranberry bogs. Some of these species may fix nitrogen in cranberry bogs up to 40-70 lbs/ac.  The availability of these species depends on temperature, moisture and other management practices.

Cranberry Leaf Nitrate Monitoring

The management of Nitrogen fertilization is one of the most important consideration in getting optimum yield in cranberry production.  Too much or too little of nitrogen in cranberry plant would seriously reduce the yield.

The cranberry nitrate monitoring program of K Labs. is an individually designed plant to help you compensate for seasonal variances in nitrogen. It helps you to avoid the application of excess nitrogen in the early and late seasons. In addition, it gives you assurance of providing the plants adequate nitrogen during critical fruiting periods.

There are at least four critical stages of growth in cranberry plants:  hook stage, mid blossom, early fruit set, and fruit enlargement.  Lack of nitrogen, phosphorus,or potassium or an imbalance in the combination of any of the three will set back the cranberry production.

When and How to Sample Cranberry Plants for Tissue

Approximately 40-50% uprights are needed for analysis. Collect 6 inches high top upright from the crops of this year and last year.  To be consistent, collect samples in the same representative area of bog during each sampling period.

When and How to Take Samples

In Cranberry production we deal with different types of soil.

Sandy Soil (Organic Matter less than 2.0%)

A. Establish bogs on sand.   Take only 0-3"samples at the depth of 2-3".  Mix samples taken from 10-15  locations in each section.
Sandy/Peat Mix Soil (Organic Matter is 1-4%)

B. Establish bogs  on peat soil, and put sand after  establishing vines. Take samples up to 6 inches deep. Mix together 10-15 samples  from  1-3 acre  sections  to make one composite sample. Peat Soils (Organic Matter is  4-10%)

C.   Establish bogs  on peat. Never  put sand.  If you  put sand  at  all,  it should  be  an in-significant amount.  Take  two  samples from  the  top  of soil.  The   depth may  vary  from  0 to  6 or 9 inches. Mix together samples from    10-15 locations in  each bog covering up to 2-5   acres   from
each sampling site.

For larger fields, we suggest taking one composite sample from each 2-3 acre field.
Remember, the accuracy of the  monitoring program depends on how samples of cranberry plants and soils are collected.

Crop Monitoring Results and Turn Around Time

You will receive results and recommendations for samples analyzed for K Labs Crop Monitoring Program by fax or sometimes by telephone within 2-3 days of receipt of the sample. A report will be mailed to you the following day.  We like to stay informed or stay in touch with you during the growing season, for possible changes in the fertilizer program maybe needed due to changes in the weather.

Benefits of the K Labs Program

Benefits of the K Labs Crop Monitoring Program are numerous.  The bottom line is to enable the growers to increase crop production and maximize profits in the following ways:

A. Provide soil foliar fertilizer recommendations when needed.

B. Help growers understand their bog soil fertility level during the growing   season.

C. Help growers apply only the needed amount of fertilizer.

D. Help growers monitor their water reservoir and water quality or any contamination and determine
suitability for crop production.

E. Help growers keep track of all essential nutrients within optimum range during growing season.

F. Help growers avoid excessive nitrogen levels during wet or cool seasons.

G. Help growers apply potassium whenever needed and stop vegetative growth of cranberry plants. (Potassium is not stable in cranberry soils because of acid in the nature of soil).

In short, K Labs. crop monitoring program will help you minimize fertilizer loss, reduce environment pollution, balance root/shoot ratios of nitrogen and above all minimize nitrogen and potassium loss by providing optimum times for fertilizer application. Not only will you maximize efficiency of fertilizer use, but you will also maximize your chances  of obtaining optimum yield.

K Labs. crop monitoring program gives the growers the professional satisfaction that their plants are well fed and have no nutrition deficiencies. References are available from growers who have used our program since 1984. K Labs. has monitored over 5000 acres of cranberry bogs since 1985 in all major cranberry growing areas of the United States and Canada.

Let our lab take care of your cranberry or any other plant nutrient need. We would not disappoint you. Call K Laboratories right now.

How to Enroll in K Labs Intensive Crop Monitoring Program

1. Fill out our contract registration forms.  K Labs will send you all the necessary  sampling material for the whole year  supply. (K Labs has been testing  thousands of cranberry soils and  cranberry vines every year since 1984).  We have special soil and plant bags.  Water bottles are available on request.

2. If you are not in our program and have  not tested your bog's soil with us, take  soil samples immediately and send to K Labs. Our recommendations will be  based on soil test to start the program.  During the growing season, take both  soil and plant samples from each  section and send to K Labs or call us  for more further information.

For more information contact:

K Laboratories International :

 *  1-800-356-6045
      (outside Wis)

 *  (920) 426-2222
     ( Wisconsin growers)

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