For field crop and forage producers, reading and interpreting Brix levels may be relatively novel concepts. The specialty crop industry, however, has used Brix readings to assess crop health and quality for some time.
Brix levels represent the soluble solids content present in a liquid solution, according to a video from The Ohio State University. Soluble solids include amino acids, minerals and sugars. To measure Brix levels, producers may use a refractometer. It analyzes liquid samples and measures the extent to which they cause light to bend, based on a fact sheet from The Ohio State University. In samples with high Brix readings, the higher soluble solids content triggers light to bend more.
High Brix levels have significance for several reasons. The video from Ohio State University shares that fruit and vegetable crop growers may use Brix readings for multiple purposes. As a few examples, readings can inform choosing plant varieties to grow, determining irrigation and fertility strategies and creating a harvest schedule.
For field crops and forage, higher Brix readings present some advantages. For example, because Brix levels include sugar and mineral concentrations, plants with higher levels may have more energy and nutrient resources that they can use for growth and development. Given that Brix readings can capture amino acid content, crops like soybeans with high Brix levels may have improved protein quality, which would appeal to end-users.
To elevate Brix levels, one strategy involves applying a cold-processed sweetener like our BigSweetYieldTM product. In corn and soybeans, we recommend applying BigSweetYield during the V3-V4 growth stages. Soybeans benefit from 1 quart to 2 quarts per acre. For corn, we recommend 1 pint to 1 quart per acre.
If you have questions about measuring Brix levels or using BigSweetYield, then call us at 816-773-6018.