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Holistic Spray Economics

Posted by Ian Graham 
Holistic Spray Economics
April 20, 2017 12:53AM
would like to share 2017 costs for ingredients in Ontario Canada 5b hamilton area to hopefully collate sourcing and costs are for people here and stateside.
Neem raw cold pressed (New Directions Aromatics , Mississauga) 12L C$164. 20L $266
Effective Microbes (Probiotics direct) 1gal Original US$58
FishHydrolysate (Agricultural Solutions, Elora ON) 100L C$312 (Advanced Marine Tech product)
Seaweed Extract (Bartletts. in Niagara) 10L C$160
or Seaweed powder (Agri Solu) 1kg C$55
I guess all seaweeds are not recreated equal either, but I don't have the supplier or brand of these two options. (I'd like to use the kelp meal I buy to feed my animals and just brew at tea out of it cuz too coarse to put in the tank.)

This works out to one season cost for my 'modest orchard' (to quote Michael in the post on the 8gal EM brewer) with about 22 sprays of 50USG each to be C$646 or $24 per spray. not including taxes and delivery since that varies.
I use USD1.00 equals C$1.25.

Surround (Bartletts) 12.5 kg C$81.25

Old 99 Farm and permaculture site
Dundas ON 5b

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2017 10:01PM by Ian Graham.
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
April 20, 2017 02:10AM
Good stuff, Ian. I will slyly make the point that actual supporting members of the network received a comprehensive (and really cool!) review of prices and suppliers of spray products several weeks ago. Be fully involved in this cause and you benefit in substantial ways! That price survey is something offered to network members in good standing every other year. I tell consulting clients that a holistic spray program costs somewhere between $800 and $1200 an acre, based on site challenges, nutritional history, and grading goals. I must say that "22 sprays" as noted by Ian is more than double what I would expect in almost every orchard situation. Chime in . . . each one of you has experience in spending real money to grow good fruit.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
April 20, 2017 03:30AM
Michael, there is an aspect here which you have failed to identify - Ian has posted Canadian sources. I had never heard of a source of neem in Canada, and glommed onto this with eagerness. (Ahimsa is absolutely marvellous, but the cost of transport from the States to us here in the North literally doubles the cost. And then we lose another 30% with the currency exchange.)
I don't think you should aspire to collate prices for the few of us up here, but I do think there is a real benefit in Canadian members sharing such information.

(And, just in case i have caught the attention of other Canadians, we can't get scion wood across the border any longer either, so I have been maintaining a database of available cultivars in Canada. If anybody who I haven't already found wished to contribute a list of their holdings, send me a message.)

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
April 20, 2017 06:35AM
will get on that active support hint thx.
I just picked 22 sprays cuz MP figured in the 8 gal brewer post that a gal of Probiotic mother would make 8 + 8 + 6 batches or 22 and would last a season of spraying. I don't know how many i'll really do this year. could anyone chime on their spray frequency history?

Old 99 Farm and permaculture site
Dundas ON 5b
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
April 21, 2017 01:57AM
Editor's Note: I'm tempted to add "in Canada" to the subject line of this thread. But let's translate currency and liters (litres) alike and truly talk about holistic spray budgets. Or conventional organic spray budgets . . . not that mineral fungicides are necessarily cheaper when applied to the usual excess. This really is a topic ripe for discussion in the context of what we each do. Be brave. Share. And then together we will discover a broader perspective. Scale is a big factor here, especially when buying something like liquid fish by the 55 gallon drum versus the single gallon needed for a home orchard.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
May 02, 2017 07:22PM
> could anyone chime on their spray frequency history?

So far my spray frequency, excepting for last year, has been woefully inadequate. As a case study I did myself no favours for not having purchased a device to apply prior to planting tree one. For two years I planted 120 to 150 trees and gave them water and sunshine. On my third round I had found the money to purchase a pak-tank in the 100 gallon format. That year I only sprayed neem, EM and fish sludge and they were sporadic as most of the season past the initial four was spent keeping up with irrigation. Last year was the second year of spraying. I added karanja and dried North American Kelp. I was almost monk like in the initial four, the previous year it being three, my only lapse was the last application being over 14 days after the previous. My summer sprays were mostly aimed at the trunk to keep down borers and were always at least 14 days apart. I intended to lay down a bunch of fish in the fall, but other tasks rose higher until snow cover took it off the menu all-together.

Lessons learned? The simplest one is that the trees I planted receiving a modicum of spray their freshman year on the hill outgrew some in their third. Then those trees in their second getting a decent spray really started to shine. Still, I am left with the visual confirmation that dozens if not a hundred trees from the first two rounds of planting are not gaining enough in height and limb to keep them any further. What is the old saying? "The stingy man pays the most…"

I have a new hand grenade of holy antioch to lob this year, Sea-Crop's liquid reduction of ocean water. I had a phone conversation with Mr. Zeigler, who has filed for a patent on the process, during which I discussed my perception that as many as a 100 or more of the first plantings are just not keeping pace with others. He was encouraging that I should wait for a season of mineralization before reaching for a shovel. It is so far the most expensive of the slew to spray.

In the end this is what I have purchased and intend to spray over this year (Us dollars and volumes):
4 gallons Molasses to brew Em       	155	
Alcohol/HydPeroxide to sanitise      	25	
5 gallons EM      	      	      	325	including shipping TX to NH
4 gallons Neem / 4 gallons Karanja	570	including priority mail MN to NH
55 gallons 75% Fish 25% Seaweed 	620	including shipping MA to NH
55 gallons Mineral Ocean Water       	1017	plus 200 shipping NY to NH
Small Ranch Triple Pack Nematodes	405	including overnight AZ to NH
Total so far is 3317. I might be in need of more Neem and Karanja if I hit all sprays at exact intervals. This number also does not include the 44 lbs of kelp I purchased last year and still have an abundance of. Also remiss is the number of gallons of diesel I will consume during application. A hazard of a guess would be 50, or $125 in fuel. Plus some grease….

Still, I see the value in it, despite the fact that I will spend this spring plucking fruitlets in lieu of roots and shoots. The difference between plantings that did not receive it to begin with are definitive; on my hillside and conditions at least. The longterm economic impact of having to re-populate before the surrounding trees make more shade is equally humbling.

In addition to tree vigor, I have been able to effectively manage two of the three insectoid pests to take up accommodations since I started. The foremost in the beginning were tent caterpillars. For two years I hand harvested them, and lost two or three trees a year to them. By the third, or first with sporadic applications, spraying seemed to help in reducing overall numbers. Last spring I had perhaps half a dozen tent caterpillar nests in the orchard. I doused the dickens out of them. I only had to do one round of hand picking, with the odd tree lightly infested, and they were absent the remainder of the year. This spring I had only one small tent within the orchard. Are they offended by the sprays, or do the sprays applied to the tents actually terminate their germination?

Three years ago I noticed a slug on my pears. Larvae pear sawfly. Mitigation by hand once again. By last year, they were also in steep decline. I am inclined to credit the spraying.

My last pest, which saw some, but not significant enough to forgo regular hand removal is the japanese beetle. I have a new line item in the spray budget for nematodes to address this. Arbico is shipping me three varieties in a quantity to cover 5 acres. I plan, after consulting with them, to apply the entire population in one spray that only includes the nematodes. If they eat the beetles to the point that I do not have to drown them in a bucket every few days, it will be worth every penny. I also am wondering if they will not also find the ticks appetizing…

Lakes Region NH @ 1200' or so

393 planted towards a 440 goal mixed apple, pear, plum and apricot...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2017 07:26PM by Chris Vlitas.
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
April 06, 2018 08:03PM
It's a year down the road. buying inputs, question is re SCD Probiotics Mother Cultures.
They have two, Original for $59/gal and $77/gal for Plus, which has purple bacteria not sulphur added. The concentrations are the same.
The Holistic spray rec is to use 1/20 gal mother to make one gal of Eff Microbes, and mix in 100 gal tank. That's 2000x dilution from the Mother. and cost is $.04/gal spray.
Buying their pre mixed equivalent (Bio Ag), which shows same concentration of microbes as the mother, at their recommended spray concentration of 1:1000, cost is $.032/gal sprayed.
I hve left freight out, which could be the only reason it is economical to go to the trouble of fermenting mother culture.

So, is the tank mix rate 1:1000 like they say, or is it 1:100 like the HS protocol? when using activated microbes from SCD?
SCD is not very helpful, they repeatedly say they don't support mother culture purchasers with preparation advice.

thanks to all and any
Ian at Old 99 Farm

Old 99 Farm and permaculture site
Dundas ON 5b
Re: Holistic Spray Economics
May 03, 2021 08:31PM
I'd like to see this thread come to a conclusion if any, maybe others would too.
Bio Ag is listed for foliar including orchard spray on SCD's application usage guide at 1:1000 in a couple places.
Current fob price is $200/5 gal or $4 per 100gal of spray. (1/10th gal BioAg in 100 gal tank per acre at the low end of range of 100 to 250 gal/acre)
ProBio Balance Original Mother Culture is US$273/5 gal, if activated to yield 100 gal used at 1gal per 100 gal tank is $2.73 per tank.
Pro Bio Balance Plus Mother is $344/5 gal or $3.44 per 100 gal tank as used in Holistic Spray.
Before delivery or for Canadians duty, taxes adn brokerage (UPS will nick you for freight and brokerage)
Conclusion imo, can save 56c to $1.27 per tank to brew your own, before freight shipping ~1.5 (34/20) gal of mother vs 3.4 gal of Bio Ag.
SCD is coy about the difference between Original and Plus, being how much bluegreen non sulphur bacteria are in each.

The Holistic Spray for Community Orchards tallies up to 34 gal of activated microbe per season on per acre basis.
I think the per acre part of the budget has lots of room for confusion because it depends on density of planting. There should be a designated 'standard acre' equaling a fixed small range of trees at maturity when specifying spray volume. I settled on 100 trees equals one acre (about 12x16 ft spacing MM111 rootstock) and if I have 200 planted on one acre, that would need twice the amount of spray. If I have 25 trees that's a quarter acre tank equivalent. This surely matters for effectiveness and cost control.

Old 99 Farm and permaculture site
Dundas ON 5b
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