Optimal nutrient uptake, better quality plants

Problem Solvers Supplement - Nutrient Efficiency

A horticulture start-up is leveraging a unique formulation process to redefine fertilizer use efficiency in the greenhouse.

March 2, 2021

Greenhouse operations looking to make more efficient use of water-soluble nutrients have a new tool in the toolbox for 2021: Verano365’s new nutrient adjuvant, Evofactor.

The recently released product can help growers prudently steward nutrient programs via two avenues, according to Vice President Technical David Coorts. Growers can use the product to reduce the amount of water-soluble fertilizer they are using while maintaining the same yield and crop quality, or they can keep fertility rates constant and boost nutrient efficiency for greater plant performance.

“How this new product is used is really up to the grower and what he or she is looking to accomplish,” Coorts explains. “We’ve had growers reduce up to 50% of their water-soluble fertilizer use across the board, and we’ve had growers use Evofactor to really push a crop and produce more robust plants with the same fertilizer inputs.”

Like most new products released in the horticulture space today, Evofactor checks the sustainability box.

“Today’s consumers are very in tune to the environmental impacts and sustainability of the products they purchase. In turn, those consumers are using their buying power to influence more products that check the environmentally soft and sustainability box,” says Herbert Rabalais, President of Verano365. “Evofactor, without a doubt, is a product that will assist growers in meeting those consumer expectations. Growers are shocked when we show them that a single pallet of Evofactor has the potential to eliminate 14 pallets of conventional water-soluble fertilizer.”

Verano365 Technical Director David Coorts conducts internal trials on Evofactor in Argyle, Texas.
Above: In internal trials at Verano365, the company tested their Evofactor nutrient adjuvant combined with 100ppm of fertilizer compared to 200ppm of a standard fertilizer treatment on Pink Kabloom Calibrachoa.
In internal trials at Verano365, Evofactor was combined with a standard 75ppm fertilizer treatment.
All Photos Courtesy of Verano365

Real world examples

To further research the product, the Verano365 internal R&D team recently conducted a case study with greenhouse-grown calibrachoa and Evofactor.

“At the trial conclusion, the Evofactor-treated plants produced more aerial biomass, both wet and dry, and produced more buds and flowers — overall, the plants tested to have higher nutrient concentrations in the tissue, and these same results were replicated at various PPM rates,” Rabalais says.

In a separate controlled environment hydroponic lettuce trial, the Evofactor treated fertility program produced around a 51% increase in leaf mass. For lettuce growers, leaf mass is high up on the priority list, Rabalais noted.

In addition to the increased lettuce leaf mass, third-party lab analysis confirmed the Evofactor-treated plants reflected a higher concentration of primary and secondary nutrients.

“Evofactor is designed to go directly into the growers’ fertilizer stock tank and be applied as part of the regular fertilization program. Evofactor is compatible with most all fertigation systems, so there’s no additional equipment to buy and no added labor burden,” Rabalais shares. “For those growers who choose the fertilizer reduction option, they may actually see a savings in labor as a result of handling less fertilizer.”

Evofactor is currently under trial with some of the larger U.S. growers on a wide variety of crops, according to the company.

OpusMax formulation tech

Verano365 (Argyle, Texas) believes that the key differentiation point for its product portfolio is a proprietary formulation technology, called OpusMax.

“We’ve developed a first-of-its-kind, aqueous-based delivery system that is anchored by a charged silica particle,” says Coorts. “When we add active ingredients to OpusMax, we get resulting supramolecular structures that can deliver more concentrated ingredients with greater stability.” According to the company, Evofactor is the third product release from the Texas-based horticulture start-up in the last 12 months.