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BioVam Treated Spinach Study

Production Comparisons of BioVam Inoculated
Non-inoculated Spinach Plantings

Elaine Hale
Hale Research & Environmental Consulting
P.O. Box 734
Santa Maria, CA   93456
Moorpark, California
Trial Number: ECO97.05
Study Location: Gold Coast Farms, Santa Maria, CA.
Principal Investigators:
Elaine Hale
Hale Research & Environmental Consulting
P.O. Box 734
Santa Maria, CA 93456
805 925 4518


Note:  Spinach is a non-mycorrhizal plant.  The benefits attributed to Spinach were due to other biotics present in BioVam.

An experiment was conducted to determine potential production benefits when using the BioVam Inoculate on Fresh Market Spinach.
      The test was conducted to evaluate the actual weight per acre differences between non-inoculated and inoculated areas of the field. The BioVam was applied at a rate of 30 lbs. product/acre, using a Gandy box unit attached to the tractor's planting bar setup. The inoculum was spread in the seed furrow, behind the furrow shoe, and prior to the seed placement. Seed and inoculum were incorporated by soil enclosure through the attachment of a small drag chain, which folded in the furrow sides and was then pressed firm by a roll wheel.
      Fertilizer practices (involving N-P-K-) were to be decreased in the BioVam plot by at least 50%, but due to the plot incorporation into a field serviced with a commercial chemigation setup, fertilizers were not decreased. Current commercial trends to use foliar fertilizers as pesticides will continue to curtail input reduction.
      The root mass for each subplot was separated, washed and weighed for both treatments. Data indicates an average root mass for BioVam Inoculant of 1.96oz/9.9sqft compared to 1.21oz for the non-inoculated. This represents an increase of 38.3% in root mass development with BioVam.
      There were statistically significant differences in the subplot production weights when comparing treated versus untreated. When converting data to a per acre basis, the BioVam Inoculant (7.8 tons/ac) produced a 1.1 ton increase over the non-inoculated (6.7 ton/ac). This represents an increase of 14.2% production between the two treatments, in BioVam's favor.
      This field made a crop in 32 days, which is a significant pressure on the BioVam Inoculant to perform in such a short-lived crop. But significant attention should be paid to the fact that the grower felt that there was a significant enough difference that a second trial was set up for commercial harvest techniques.


      At the single cut harvest the roots of the spinach plants were weighed separately from the marketable stems and leafy tops.   Phytotoxicity ratings for foliage were recorded on 3 separate dates.  Duncan's MST was used for analysis of the data.


      Observations made by the grower three days prior to harvest indicated a color differentiation between the two treatments; the inoculated section being a lighter, brighter green color. This may have been due to the difference in Nitrogen uptake or the inoculated area's reaction to over-nitrification.
      The subplot harvest of ten randomly-selected areas of the two plots indicated a weight difference in favor of the BioVam treatment (3lbs. 8oz/9.9 square feet) versus the non-inoculated production (3.0 lbs./9.9 square feet). When these figures are converted to a per acre production mass,
[10 replications X Average amount harvest/ 9.9 sqft plot = Total Plot Volume Harvested] {10 X 3.0 = 30 lbs./97.5 sqft (non- inoculated) } {10 X 3.5 = 35 lbs/97.5 sqft (BioVam) }
This equates to total tonnage per acre for BioVam of 7.8 tons/acre (14.2% increase) versus the non-inoculated area at 6.7 tons/acre:

30 lbs. = 97.5 sqft   35 lbs. = 97.5 sqft

X = 43560 sqft      X = 43560 sqft

(30 x 43560)/97.5  =  13403/2000 = 6.7 tons

(35 x 43560)/97.5  =  1537/2000  =  7.8 tons 

     Due to the various uses, multiple harvests and packaging of the same areas in both plots, cost benefits for the increase in tonnage were not available.   When comparing the root mass production differences between the two treatments, BioVam (1.96oz/9.9sqft) with the non-inoculated (1.211 oz/9.9sqft) (38.3% increase) there is some suggestion of a tolerance by the organism for certain nutrients heretofore alleged non-existent.  No phytotoxicity was observed on the leaves in any of the treatments throughout the test.

      Data from the experiment indicates a significant difference as well as a definitive economic benefit due to the increase in total crop tonnage by the BioVam Inoculant. If cultural practices for nutrient input had been modified perhaps some rather significant savings might have been realized.
      Individual Grower advise indicates that certain phosphoric additives (foliar applied) would not be discontinued due to disease prevention measures (Blue Mold).
This researcher feels that the best method to equate and evaluate fertilizer savings is to contract with a commercial sustainable or organic grower. Conventional growers are not set up with their cultural system to decrease inputs when using aqueous applications. This is a big problem.
      The single fact that the grower requested an additional test be initiated for a controlled harvest evaluation indicates a significant financial edge when using BioVam.

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