Salicrop is an agritech start-up company in the field of agriculture. The company’s technology is based on a seed priming treatment that support optimal plant growth under abiotic stress conditions such as heat stress and salinity.
Salicrop has developed non-GM, anti-ABS seed treatments that induce crops to grow well in high salinity soils or when irrigated with brackish water. Treatments are carried out using an innovative formulation. Based on proprietary know-how, the formulation is generic and applicable to a wide range of crops and varieties after calibration to each specific crop variety. SaliCrop’s solution is both cost-effective and scalable.
In this 25 ha field observation in Israel , we examined the effect of Salicrop's treatment on tomato crop yield when growing under salinity conditions.
A new study, published in Nature, predicts a six-percent decline in tomato yields in major growing regions such as Italy and California by 2050. According to the study, an increase in air temperature as a result of climate change in big tomato-growing regions will cause the decrease in yield.
Credit: Guy Sherry
Salicrop, has developed a treatment that provide seeds a resistance to drought, salinity and heat stress without the use of genetic modification.
Salicrop makes intelligent use of the formulas it has developed. These formulas are used as stimulants that activate the biological mechanisms in the seeds, thus causing physiological changes which, in turn, allow the seeds to cope better with abiotic stresses.
Research site background and geographical framework
The Beit She'an Valley in Northern Israel’s Jordan Valley is a unique agricultural area due to a combination of warm and dry climates, saline water irrigation, and heavy soils. The study site is in a toral site of 25 ha and is in cooperation with four leading local farming organizations.
The Beit She'an Valley’s soil is one of the most important agricultural assets in Israel. It consist of brown clay soils (grumusols) and calcific soils, with the latter's profile characterized by thin and formation layers of marl with high water absorption capacity. This soil stratification influences the potential to drain and wash excess salts that accumulate during the irrigation season, which preserve ventilated root conditions.
The high levels of water salinity in the lower Jordan Valley limit the utilization of ground water for both domestic and agriculture applications. Most of the soil salinization problems in the Beit She’an Valley are a result of poor-quality irrigation water from the Jordan River and high- salinity, treated irrigation wastewater. As a result, the soil salinity constantly increases and
blocks natural drainage to the underlying groundwater.
Salinization during irrigation is a dynamic process as the concentration salts in the soil and their composition change during irrigation in both the surface area and in the soil profile. The combination of soil stratification and poor drainage conditions impedes plant development, and, in some cases, soil structure destruction and salt accumulation in the root zone cause plant degeneration due to water absorption difficulties (Machado and Serralheiro, 2017). Consequently, crop irrigation by brackish water in the Beit She'an area might cause economic damage.
Salicrop has conducted many field trials using various crops in the last 3 years. Salicrop will continue to advance its trials in the Bet She’ean Valley in the next years with focus on
In the preliminary planning stage, we allocated fields for observation and took soil samples, planned the size of the area in each field to be treated, the variety of tomatoes, and the method of monitoring growth. A total of eight fields were chosen (details below) and four industrial tomato varieties (Heinz: 4107, 1015, 9780 and Licord: 3540) were chosen.
The correlation between yield and salinity level:
The level of salinity in the soil depends, among other things, on the history of the plot, the type of soil, the method of fertilization and the level of salinity of the irrigation water. Over time, salinity tends to accumulate at depth and increases with the depth of the measurement and throughout the growing season.
The highest level of salinity was measured in Maoz Haim. We observed a trend that the effectiveness of the treatment increases as the salinity register increases. The yield increase is affected by several biotic, abiotic, and agrotechnical factors.
Exposure of crops to stress is the most significant barrier to agricultural output and food
Stress induces changes in plants’ physiological functions, which leads to lower plant growth and agricultural yield.
Improved quality of seed is an important component in the sustainability of crop production under changing climate.
Salicrop has field-proven technology to improve the yield of processing tomatoes under salinity stress conditions.
With the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Innovation Authority, in 2022, Salicrop conducted field trials in 25 ha in in Beit She'an Valley in Northern Israel’s. This valley is a unique agricultural area due to a combination of warm and dry climates, saline water irrigation, and heavy soils as well as beginning commercial observations in Europe.
In this field observation in different plots and different varieties, it was proven that the Salicrop enhancement resulted in an improvement in almost every significant index in the field.
The enhancement technology developed by Salicrop, allows the seeds to use up their genetic potential under stress conditions.
Salicrop seed enhancement formulation can significantly improve seed germination and
emergence, seedling establishment, crop development, and yield parameters under both stressful conditions.
The seed can develop significant biomass, which enables better water retention, dealing with biotic constraints such as pests and diseases, strong detachment tissue, and ultimately an increase in the commercial yield and the quality of the produce.
Considering these positive results, Salicrop will significantly expand the it's activity in Israel and around the world.