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Tools & How to Measure Soil and Plant Health – Part 2

Reliable data and measurable results are vital to progressing our movement. This year, we have leveled up our data collection efforts, employing various methods as no single tool can conclusively reflect soil and plant health. The information provides crucial feedback for our farmers, soil experts, and TAPs to understand what’s working and where they need to make adjustments.


Part 1 of this blog introduced several tools for measuring soil health, including a moisture probe, a penetrometer, an electrical conductivity probe, and a 24-hour soil respiration test kit. In Part 2, we look at more ways we are gathering insights on the above and below-ground health of our crops.

1. Brix Refractometer aka Brix Meter

A Brix Meter indicates the amount of sugar a plant produces by photosynthesis (when a plant uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy). The process entails cutting up and crushing the leaves to yield sap, which is then measured for its sugar content. The higher the Brix value (>10), the more pest and disease-resistant the crop.

2. Carbon Dioxide Tester

CO2 sensors are another way of evaluating crops’ respiration and photosynthesis capabilities. The sensor is placed underneath the crops as most plants breathe through the underside of their leaves. Low CO2 levels during the day can signify that the plants are rapidly using the available CO2, indicating a healthy growing environment.

a carbon dioxide tester under crops

3. Chlorophyll Concentration Meter

Not only does chlorophyll give plants their vivid green colour, it is also vital for photosynthesis. Therefore, the depth of colour can indicate a plant’s efficiency in producing its food. However, different species reflect a spectrum of colors, so it is not viable to standardize this measurement.


A microBIOMETER is an onsite test used to determine the fungal-to-bacterial (F:B) ratio by measuring the microbial biomass of the soil. As seen in the images below, after processing the soil, we can easily check the ratio via the phone application. A 1:1 F:B ratio is considered optimal, whereas soil in production farms is often bacterial-dominant, which can lead to more weed infestation.


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