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Welcome to the 35th annual California Small Farm Conference, a week of learning, inspiration and movement-building. Our hybrid conference features over 50 online workshops, videos, and interactive forums, as well as in-person gatherings around the state. Admission is on a sliding scale. Please pay what you can to help make this event possible and accessible to everyone. All events are virtual except those listed "Gathering" towards the end of the week.
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Sunday, February 26 • 8:30am - 9:15am
Sap Analysis: Find Out What the Plant Knows (VIDEO)

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Interactive Session

In this video, Clayton Handy of Handy Farms will delve into details of what sap analysis is, how to take sap samples, and how to do sap analyses of these samples. Sap analyses looks at what nutrients are moving through the leaves over time allowing growers and technical assistance providers to have real-time data about plant nutrient levels for several diverse cropping systems. Sap analysis can especially be valuable for farmers looking to try alternative regenerative nutrient management practices and improve yield or quality with less inputs. In sap analysis the levels and ratio of different nutrients are assessed to determine nutrient excesses and shortages; this can allow growers to hone in on fertilizer timing and avoid over-fertilizing. Shortages could suggest plant stress (e.g. potential pests, diseases, or drought). Sap analysis can also be used to look at whether different formulations enhance plant nutrients. One example of this is one farm Clayton worked with as a consultant where tried out an application of a mix of amino acids (fermented sugarcane byproducts) and proteins (fish hydrolysate) in almonds right before harvest; this resulted in a 300% increase of Nitrogen in the leaves at half the price of the previous conventional fertilizer used. Setting nutrient targets may also be built into this approach (e.g. obtaining a certain percent increase in sugars and/or brix). Sap analysis can be a very powerful tool growers can use to improve their nutrient management practices.

avatar for Hanna Kahl

Hanna Kahl

Ecological Pest Management Specialist, CAFF
Hanna specializes in agricultural research and organizing information sharing with farmers. She is passionate about hosting events where farmers can share their knowledge and experience and doing applied research to serve the need of local farmers. Feel free to ask Hanna questions... Read More →


Clayton Handy

Handy Farms

Sunday February 26, 2023 8:30am - 9:15am PST