February 2022 - 22

LEAFY VEGETABLES
BRAGA
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19
more about our crops and do a better job
growing them sustainably, " said Morgan.
Though unusual to plant summer cover
crops in the Salinas Valley, the cover crops
take up any residual nitrogen left in the soil
from the previous crop. The cover crops
hold that nitrogen in the tissue of new
plants until the cover crop is terminated
and that nitrogen is made available to the
next crop. The cover crop also takes CO₂
(carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere and
holds it as carbon in the plant that is later
added to the soil.
" The crop following the cover crop is
a better quality crop, " said Morgan. " If
you plant a cover crop, it will save the
environment and you will be saving some
money. "
An example of the nitrogen use
efficiency Braga daily employs is the fact
that a broccoli crop, for example, requires
at least 250 pounds of nitrogen. The most
that will be taken away at harvest would be
80 pounds. The 170 pounds of nitrogen left
in the crop's residual biomass is accounted
for when the Bragas make planting
decisions for the next crop.
Via carbon tracking, Braga is able to
track the atmospheric CO₂ its crops and
cover crops add to the soil. The company
said a Ph.D. soil scientist calculated that
it has injected 34.3 million pounds of
CO₂ via organic fertilizers into the soil
since 2018.
Reliance on beneficials
Braga relies on Mother Nature to do
much of the heavy lifting via beneficial
insects battling pests. However, in cold
weather at the season's start or finish,
beneficial insects don't respond as well.
the fertility and all the different production
inputs you have available to you, they are
slow and they don't work as well. "
New farming techniques are critical
for Braga's success. On some of its organic
lettuce crops, Braga employs drip irrigation
via underground drip tape. Reducing
atmospheric water loss and providing
higher distribution uniformity, the system
produces better crops. The previous
season's single-use drip tape is recycled and
used the following season.
Transitioning to drip irrigation requires
Josie's Organics is a brand of Braga Fresh.
Organic fertilizers take considerably more
time to break down the soil and become
available to the crop. Sometimes that
fertilizer isn't even available that year.
" Organics requires attention to detail, "
said Morgan. " When it comes to pesticides,
changing fertility and spraying practices.
As buried drip tape does not push fertilizer
into the soil like sprinklers, a new method
was needed to place nutritional elements
into the ground.
" It's trial and error, " said Morgan. " You
have to cultivate differently. There are a lot
of little things you need to figure out. "
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discharging into the aquifer and
contaminating groundwater and surface
water, the proper amount of fertilizer is
applied at the right time. " It takes so little
nitrogen to increase nitrate in groundwater
and make it non-drinkable, " said Morgan.
Technological advancements
Technology is vital to Braga's farming.
Beneficial insects are dropped into fields
via drones. University of California
crop management program irrigation
scheduling software audits Braga's water
application.
GPS helps maximize field and
implement efficiencies. " If we can get
to under an inch accuracy with our
groundwork, we will be saving passes,
diesel, labor and wear and tear on
machinery, " said Morgan. " It adds up
almost 20% when you let the GPS guide
you. There is a gigantic list of things we're
doing in technology. "
Tablets collect agronomic, production
and harvesting data, which is entered into
apps.
" The challenges we see when moving
to new technology include ensuring you
get all the data you want and that it is
accurate and complete, " said Morgan.
" It's a big deal going from a log book to a
handheld personal device like an iPhone
or iPad. "
Braga has used a robotic weeder. The
Bragas are reviewing a driverless tractor.
They also plan a demonstration of a
weeding machine that fires lasers at weeds.
Braga takes a proactive attitude towards
California's arduous regulations. Braga will
be able to adapt to water board regulations
in the near term because Braga has been
preparing for them. Regulatory hurdles
that go into effect after 2030 will be
difficult to achieve as the technology is not
in place to comply with them.
" The regulatory framework in
California growers is robust, but we are
up to it, " he said.
Sustainability is part of Braga's daily
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20 | VegetableGrowersNews.com
routine. " We ensure sustainability by
building up soil organic matter, planting
cover crops, by using the right amount of
fertilizer, and by protecting surface water
from runoff that can contain sediments
or nutrients, " Morgan said. " It's a big deal
for us. " VGN
http://www.VegetableGrowersNews.com/2022-SE-Handbook http://www.VegetableGrowersNews.com

February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2022

February 2022 - 1
February 2022 - 2
February 2022 - 3
February 2022 - 4
February 2022 - 5
February 2022 - 6
February 2022 - 7
February 2022 - 8
February 2022 - 9
February 2022 - 10
February 2022 - 11
February 2022 - 12
February 2022 - 13
February 2022 - 14
February 2022 - 15
February 2022 - 16
February 2022 - 17
February 2022 - 18
February 2022 - 19
February 2022 - 20
February 2022 - 21
February 2022 - 22
February 2022 - 23
February 2022 - 24
February 2022 - 25
February 2022 - 26
February 2022 - 27
February 2022 - 28
February 2022 - 29
February 2022 - 30
February 2022 - 31
February 2022 - 32
February 2022 - 33
February 2022 - 34
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-august
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2019
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