US (CA): Results of strawberry trial with soil enhancer

VGrid Energy Systems announced the results of a recently completed strawberry production trial in California. Compared to a grower's typical regimen, the yield of marketable strawberries produced per acre improved by 14.25% when adding Persistâ„¢ Biochar and PAF liquid plant enhancer.

The outdoor grow trial, which was conducted from September through December 2022, was a completely randomized data collection of six replicates. A Portola strawberry variety was grown. Prior to planting, Persist Biochar was placed in the slot at a rate of 480 lbs/acre. Persist PAF liquid was applied at 1% dilution with a backpack sprayer at a total rate of 3.5 gal/acre (four applications total). All treatments received, at planting, controlled release fertilizer, and in-season applications of nitrogen and phosphorous, along with seasonally necessitated foliar pest control.

"We're pleased, but certainly not surprised by the results," said Jeff Norton, Vice President of Business Development with VGrid. "This continues a pattern that we've seen consistently in many trials, across many applications, where the quality of Persist products is driving superior results in plant development and the overall productivity of soils."

Persist biochar is a highly porous and pure form of carbon produced from agricultural waste, specifically California-grown pistachio shells. The product is manufactured within VGrid's ultra-high temperature gasification process that turns the pistachio shells into clean and sustainable electricity. In doing so, the carbon from the agricultural waste is stabilized for over 1,000 years in the biochar, rather than released back into the atmosphere if left to decompose. In this way, Persist biochar is a "carbon negative" product that sequesters atmospheric CO2, helping to reverse climate change.

When added to soil, Persist biochar increases water and nutrient retention helping to mitigate the impact of drought. Furthermore, biochar has been shown to naturally enhance the diversity and population of beneficial soil microbes, which may reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers.

Persist PAF, which is sometimes generically referred to as pyroligneous acid, wood vinegar, or liquid smoke, is a synergistic blend of natural organic acids and compounds produced from VGrid's high-temperature biomass gasification system. Research and trial data point to PAF's potential to improve soil microbiology and mineral and nutrient availability, as well as boost plants' natural defense mechanisms against both biotic and abiotic stress.

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