The Dirty Work: Banana Case Study

Nov 29, 2017
BioFlora Improves Banana Profits

Bananas are among the top ten crops globally produced in area and yield – continually reaching seventh or eighth place in worldwide rankings. For about 400 million people in the tropics, bananas are their most significant staple. 

For such a globally important crop, bananas are vulnerable to pests, diseases, environmental conditions and soil fertility issues. It can be estimated that about 50% of the land dedicated to banana plantations are suffering from soil erosion. This leads to higher input levels of chemical fertilizers to increase production, which ultimately further degrades soil and makes the field unsustainable for long-term growth. After a period of unprofitability, banana lands are given up, and recuperation of these areas prove increasingly difficult.

After realizing the extent of these concerns, BioFlora® began several banana trials to determine if our sustainable approach could help increase bagging per hectare, stems produced per plant and revenue back to the grower year after year. We would do all this while building microbial stability back into the soil, creating naturally fertile ground to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, and to better protect against pests and disease.

Case Study 1: Yield Increases

The objective of this trial was to improve the yields and quality of the banana fruit on 265 hectares (650 acres) over a six year period.

Year 1: Applied to 50% of Field
Humega® 1 lt / week / ha Soil

Year 2: Applied to 50% of Field
Humega® 1 lt / week / ha Soil
Seaweed Creme® 2 lt / month / ha Foliar
Fulvex® 2 lt / month / ha Foliar

Years 3 -6: Applied to 100% of Field
Humega® 1 lt / week / ha Soil
Seaweed Creme® 2 lt / month / ha Foliar
Fulvex® 2 lt / month / ha Foliar
*Nematicide application suspended

Humega® is a biologically enhanced humic acid, which facilitates soil tilth and boosts microbial activity. It enhances root protection against disease by stimulating the growth of beneficial microbes.

Fulvex® is a bioavailable, form of ionic fulvic acid, which assists with higher yields even when using less chemical fertilizer inputs. Fulvex effectively transports nutrients and minerals directly to cell metabolic sites.

BioFlora Seaweed Creme® is hand-harvested Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed that is homogenized, processed at ambient temperatures, and enhanced by our patented organic process. This secures all of the beneficial qualities of seaweed as nature intended.

   

Field Notes
This trial took place in Escuintla, on the west coast of Guatemala. The field was 100% under a tree fixed sprinkler irrigation system, and characterized by mostly sandy loam soil. There was one packing shed with a 100% cableway system.

Application Notes
Foliar applications were applied along with fungicides via spraying flights the first 2 years.

Soil and tissue samples were taken every two weeks with nutritional program adjustments made accordingly.

Chart 1 | Bagging per Hectare
BioFlora products steadily increased yields year over year to rise above conventional agricultural returns. This was without fungicide applications or any other fertilizer products.

Chart 2 | Stems per Plant Similarly, after rehabilitating the soils with our organic products, the stems per year and cartons per stem both increased to above conventional agricultural practices.

Case Study 1: Results 

27% Increase in bagging per hectare per year.

23% Increase in stems per plant per year.

33% Increase in cartons per stem per year.

$7,100 Increase in revenue per hectare per year when comparing 2003 crop versus 2009 crop.

 

 

Case Study 2: Plant Vigor

The objective of this trial was to improve the yields and quality of the banana fruit on two lot areas over a six month period.

Lot 1
BioFlora section (A-1)
Control section (A-15)

Lot 2
BioFlora section (B-3)
Control section (B-15)

The BioFlora sections of each field received:

Humega® 1 lt / week / ha Soil
Seaweed Creme® 0.5 lt / month / ha Foliar
Fulvex® 0.5 lt / month / ha Foliar

Case Study 2: Methodology

The banana plants were selected at random for the moment of partition.

The data collected included plantation vigor, hands per bunch, percent hands per bunch, total bunches, potential hands, finders per hand and fingers per bunch.

Chart 1 | Medium vs. Vigorous Growth
Shows that the “vigorous growth” of the banana plants (0.80-1.0m + perim) in the BioFlora treated plot, far outperformed the Control plot.

Chart 2 | Medium vs. Vigorous Growth
The BioFlora treated plot outperformed the Control plot for “vigorous growth”, while the Control plot had more plants showing “medium growth” (0.70-0.80m + perim).

Chart 3 | Percent Hands per Bunch
Validates that the BioFlora plot had more 9% and 10% hands per bunch in the final week of testing over the Control plot, which had more 7% and 8% hands per bunch.

Chart 4 | Percent Hands per Bunch
Emphasizes that the BioFlora treated plot had more 9% and 8% hands per bunch over the control field, which unfortunately, was unable to have data fully collected

 

 

Case Study 3: Improve Profit

The objective of this trial was to improve profits back to the grower by enhancing harvest weight, reducing the amount of culls and applications of chemical fertilizers. 

Soil Application: Weekly
Humega 2.0 liters
BioFlora 0-15-15 0.5 liters
BioFlora 0-0-25 2.0 liters
BioFlora Seaweed Creme 1.0 liters

Foliar Application: Every 21 Days (together)
BioFlora 6-0-0 + 8% Ca 1.0 liters
BioFlora Boron-Zinc 0.25 liters
BioFlora Seaweed Creme 0.5 liters

Foliar Application: Every 30 Days (together)
BioFlora 0-15-15 1.0 liters
BioFlora Boron-Zinc 1.0 liters
Humega 0.5 liters

Foliar Application: Every 21 Days (single)
BioFlora Magnesium 4% 1.0 liters

Case Study 3: Results

14% Increase in harvest weight

30% Reduction in culls

40%Reduction in chemical fertilizer input

10:1Increase in the profit to cost ratio

About BioFlora

BioFlora® was founded in 1972 with a goal to conceptualize, develop, manufacture, market, and deliver a proprietary product line to the agricultural community. Through our innovative products and programs, we provide solutions for our customers in both domestic and international markets. Today, we have over 30 unique proprietary products that benefit growers, retailers and consumers alike. Our organic and sustainable agricultural programs maximize the efficacy and efficiency of traditional agricultural inputs, while being mindful of their environmental impact.