TriEst Ag Group: Partners in Profitability

There is a lot of talk about sustainability and regeneration in agriculture these days. But what do those terms really mean? If you ask five people, you might get five different definitions. But for Josh Mays, Director of Agronomy for TriEst Ag Group, it all starts with profitability. Mays says “We should all be critical of how farming practices impact the ecosystems around the farm, but we can’t be sustainable without being profitable. There is nothing sustainable about the loss of farms in the United States due to financial instability.”

To put that statement into perspective there are only an estimated 1.89 million farms to feed 332 million people in the United States or 0.5%. According to Yahoo Finance, America has had an average loss of nearly 1.8 million acres of farmland per year since 2015.

He says profitability always has been important, but it is even more so today when there are so many factors that could take valuable farmland out of production. Challenges include competition from urban development, trouble sourcing labor, regulatory burdens, foreign competition impacting markets and the aging demographic of specialty crop growers.

“How do we keep our growers profitable? The economics need to be better for them to farm their land than to sell it for development or other uses,” Mays says. “Our intention at TriEst Ag Group is to help farmers keep farming.”

The company’s core customer base is in plasticulture specialty crops like strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. Other key customers include bare ground sweet potatoes, potatoes, snap beans, sweet corn, and vegetable crops.

Green Bean Field Trial in Florida


Mays says TriEst Ag Group helps growers key in on profitability by learning about their operations and finding ways that their products and services can be a benefit.

“We go very deep working with growers. That is what my job is all about,” he adds. “We take a step beyond just our products to discover what is the best approach to profitability for each farm. We work with growers to go over fertility programs, to consider variety selection, field selection and testing for what levels of pest problems they have in their soils. We holistically build a program that includes our products where they can help the grower but also are a part of a larger program.

“We are a spoke in the wheel. We want to better understand everything farmers have going on, so we can help them figure out the most economical solution to the challenges they face.”


TriEst Ag Group has a wide range of products and services that can help growers achieve profitability. The company specializes in soil fumigation, irrigation, crop nutrition, equipment, grafted plants, polytunnels, substrate and associated growing systems.

Soil fumigation with two key products, chloropicrin and 1,3-D (TELONE™), has been foundational in helping growers get their specialty crops off to strong, clean starts. Mays says these products have been studied extensively to maximize crop yield, quality and performance, especially since methyl bromide was phased out.

“These two products have been the subject of years of research and millions of dollars invested by universities and the private sector,” he says. “They are now the foundation of what we do to make up for the loss of methyl bromide. 1,3-D is effective in managing nematodes while chloropicrin manages soil-borne pathogens.

“We’ve seen advancements in plasticulture and tarps to create a better barrier that holds these products in the ground longer at higher concentrations. This allows us to consider rate reductions and achieve more efficacy. And it forced us to be more integrated and innovative in our approach to better manage pests. We’ve been successful in doing that through our collaboration with our grower customers.”


Mays says another area of intensive research has been maximizing soil health in fields. The study of the soil microbiome is a hot field now in all of agriculture.

“We are doing a lot of research on how our products interact with the soil microbial system,” Mays says. “We know we must manage nematodes and soil pathogens to produce a healthy crop. We are seeking the best ways to utilize our fumigants to provide the best suppression and have been studying how our fumigants alter the microbiome.”

The research has turned up encouraging results. The use of chloropicrin and 1,3-D has been shown to not ‘sterilize the soil’ as some have said.

“Science shows when you apply these products, you shift the microbial community. You get shifts of certain organisms, and there are others that take their place that are often beneficial organisms. We are learning now how to better utilize that shift. There is an entire new science emerging around the interaction of those microbes and our products, across a wide range of rates and new crops.”


The goal of TriEst Ag Group’s relationships with growers is to help them get more productivity and profitability from each acre of their crops.

“If we can learn new ways to innovate and create more yield on an acre and seek ways to be more efficient and reduce costs where we can, that is key to profitability,” Mays says. “If we were to take our core soil fumigants out of the equation, then you might see specialty crop yields drop by 30%. That will take 30% more acres of land to replace, and all the other inputs needed to grow the crop. That is not sustainable or profitable. We take great pride in working closely with our growers to bring them solutions that keeps that acre of farmland in farming.”


If you are interested in learning more about TriEst Ag Group’s products and services contact us today.

Low Dose Chloropicrin – When SweetPotato Set is at Stake

We hinted at the end of our blog article – 2023 Trial: Impacts of Soil Fumigation of Tobaccothat we also did trials on sweetpotatoes that compared mixtures on Enterolobii nematode control and dual applications on seed production. Track number 1: why high why nematodes? Answered further in this article. Track number 2: why did we get late season resurgence?

In this blog we will go into more detail on those trials, the outcomes, and the implications.

In the Summer/Fall of 2022 TriEst Ag Group did a mixture study that focused on Enterolobii in Nash County, NC. The trial evaluated the use of TELONETM, C15, and C35 at 6 GPA (22 GPA broadcast) shank applied in-row 14” deep with 10” of stack. The row was re-shaped to 5-8” in front of planter. The field had a heavy Enterolobii (Guava Root Knot Nematode or GRKN) pressure.

We fumigated the field May 11, 2022, the field was planted June 14, 2022, and harvested October 24th, 2022.

This chart shows that Guava Root Knot Nematode (GRKN) resurged in all 3 plots. Damage was observed in all plots as well, but was worst in C35, which would be expected from the treatment with the least amount of TELONE being applied.

Despite C35 having the worst GRKN levels and damage it still provided the highest yields and the best crop throw showing a clear benefit to having Chloropicrin in the system. For this growing region that is focused on table stock production, bushes of #1’s per acre is critical.

The results of this trial left us with a significant observation and question, why did we have the highest yield in a treatment with the highest volume of nematodes at seasons end?

Nematode pressures rose in the last 30 days of the crop, even with very good suppression of the pest after each treatment application. Why did we see a late season resurgence of nematodes? How mobile is GRKN and are they moving from untreated areas back into the root zone? Would a deeper application work? Would a wider area of application make a difference?

While we answer the question of why did we have the highest yield in a treatment with the highest volume of nematodes at season’s end in this article the remaining questions this trial spurred we will answer in a future article on another field trial from 2023.

Back to the impact of chloropicrin…

The following summer/fall of 2023 we decided to look at TELONE and TELONE with PIC applied in a dual level application to see if we could build off of what we learned in the 2022 trial.

The trail took place in Nash County, NC again, but this trial purposefully had low root knot nematode pressure. The primary goal was to see the impact of Chloropicrin on the crop and build off of what we learned in 2022.

The sweet potato crop in this trial was grown for seed, where growers are targeting heavier tuber sets and smaller size profiles overall, which is what we saw in the 2022 trial harvest.

We fumigated 6/3/2023 with TELONE at 6 GPA in-row (22 gallons broadcast) and TELONE at 6 GPA in-row plus 20lbs PIC100 (75lbs broadcast) in a dual application 8” PIC and 14” TELONE. Everything was shank applied in-row with a ripper bedder at 14” with 10” of stack. The row as reshaped to 5-8” in front of the planter.

The field was planted on 6/23/2023 and the crop was harvested on 10/20/2023.

The conclusion from this trial was that the addition of a low dose of Chloropicrin (75lbs Broadcast/20lbs BER) increased the tuber set. This resulted in a higher yield and smaller size profile overall. This is a big advantage for seed growers. We feel that getting the Chloropicrin dose as close to the where the root system will be (6-8” beneath final planting depth) is important. For nematode management, TELONE should be applied 12-16” deep to treat the highest volume of soil possible, which is why we looked at dual application as opposed to a blend with both products being applied down deep.

In conclusion, the key takeaways from these trials would be that higher sweet potato yields can be achieved when a low dose of Chloropicrin is used to increase set. TELONE is critical for nematode management and depth of application is important in regards to location of the pest in the soil profile. Dual level application with Chloropicrin applied in the root zone and TELONE applied beneath the root zone increases tuber set while also maximizing nematode management.

Remember to subscribe so that you don’t miss our future blog article on our work in sweetpotatoes that will answer the questions of why did we see a late season resurgence of nematodes? How mobile is GRKN and are they moving from untreated areas back into the root zone? Would a deeper application work? Would a wider area of application make a difference?

To learn more now or talk to a representative about seeing what Chloropicrin can do in your field Contact Us Here.