New Technology Helping NC Grower
Make His Soil a Better Place

Like all growers, Wilson, NC farmer Rickey Whitesell has to look at his farm as a business, and it has to be profitable, but he’s wired a little different than most farmers, when it comes to trying new things.

“Finding an edge, or a better way to do things is not about making more money, it’s about doing a better job,” Whitesell says.

When Quick-Sol was introduced into the market in NC six years ago, Whitesell was quick to take a look. His father was not nearly so excited about this new technology.

The first crop we used Quick-Sol on was wheat, he recalls. We knew we had crop damage from Command herbicide1. Visually, it turned the wheat white, but we didn’t know what that damage might mean in terms of yield.

We applied the Quick-Sol and 90 percent of the wheat came back. It took a few days, but you could see the new growth pushing the white tissue out, he says.

In more recent years, Quick-Sol has been associated with increased levels of zinc and other micronutrients, which have been linked by multiple research projects to rebuilding damaged tissue2 and to producing healthier tissue growth.

Based on what he saw in wheat, Whitesell treated his tobacco greenhouses with Quick-Sol. “We saw an immediate improvement in the quality of our plants. When we are working 12-15 hour days, it’s hard to take the time to understand the differences.

However, that year we bought some tobacco plants from another grower, and just looking the plants we bought and our plants, which were treated with Quick-Sol, we didn’t see much difference. when we sat plants from each place, side-by-side, and compared trays of treated versus untreated tobacco plants, it was clear to see improved root growth and stiffness.

Even my father, who taught me most everything I know about farming, finally recognized that our treated tobacco plants were just noticeably better than the untreated one. Now, he’s right there with us, trying to figure out the best way to use this product, rather than complaining about it being snake oil, the North Carolina grower explains.

We now use Quick-Sol on all soils, and we are getting a side benefit of the product that we did not expect. Our soil is much easier to work now, Whitesell contends. I don’t know whether it’s because of the activity of the product in the soil, or whether it produces healthier plants that break down into higher quality crop residue. I don’t know why, but I’m convinced my soil is better, he stresses.

At the end of the day, any product’s value comes when it helps us produce sustainably higher crop yields and quality. It’s been a slow steady climb, but we are seeing improvements in all our crops and in all our fields.

Nobody sprays anything on my farm, but me, and I know exactly what’s there and what’s been there, and I’m sure this new product has made a difference in improving the quality of our soil, Whitesell concludes. In my mind, he adds, that has to contribute to our higher yields and our higher quality tobacco crop.

1 › Extension › Plants and Pests › Crops and Soils