Good Dirt: Building Sustainable Soils from the Ground Up

Article by Hannah Rouillard


Ray Austin, Soil Specialist

Soil quality influences agricultural production before anything in the Farmer’s Almanac has a chance to form in the sky. Before a drought, a flood, an early frost, or a swarm of thrips and aphids, before any of these uncontrollable influences run aground, the ground has initial say in how far yields will go. Soil health is a result of careful balance of moisture, pH, texture, aeration, nutrients, temperature, and conscientious maintenance. The consequences of slacking on soil are evident in lackluster produce that directly affects profits of agricultural investments. Some soil conditions are inherited from generations of neglect and abuse, but the good news is the damage is only set in dirt, not stone.

BioSafe Systems’ soil specialist, Ray Austin, was grandfathered into agribusiness, “I have been privileged to wear the boots of a farmer…and understand what challenges and obstacles they face, and it is a constantly changing dynamic.” He noticed in the 90s and 2000s, “Many chemistries started to be banned and products removed from the market because of their impacts on the environment…growers had to adapt and change their mindset.” Likewise, Ray has been learning and preparing to grow with the shift from conventional to more sustainable strategies. BioSafe Systems brought him to the team for just this reason.

Instead of treating the soil with a laissez-faire attitude or overworking the soil, Ray advocates for an educated approach when launching a sustainable soils program. BioSafe Systems’ combines pest management knowledge and sustainability to curate agricultural methodology that will be profitable for future generations of growers and consumers. Ray says, “The opportunity for a grower to suppress soilborne pathogens and nematodes and come back within a day and introduce beneficial spores is a change in mindset.” BioSafe Systems supports growers with sustainable practices in soil management.

The diverse variables that contribute to soil profiles differ by region, crop, air quality, water, and cultivation techniques. As the climate and industry changes, these conditions will continuously be in flux, but the recipe for rich soil requires balance in any environment. Step one for conventional and organic farmers alike, TerraStart® HC, a broad-spectrum soil fungicide/bactericide used as a pre-plant preparation or between double cropping to control subterranean plant pathogens, pests, and nematodes in the field. These insects and nematodes can wreck a yield, then hunker down for the winter and revive in time to attack the new season. Applying this during the pre-plant stage or while planting via drip irrigation systems targets and oxidizes detrimental pests on contact like Fusarium, Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Verticillium. Plus, the by-products of the chemical reaction release dissolved oxygen into the soil, which stimulates plant growth, root development, and nutrient uptake. TerraStart HC penetrates crop soil and knocks out pathogens and leaving behind helpful oxygen.

The second phase of our sustainable soil program uses TerraGrow®*; BioSafe Systems’ beneficial soil inoculant and plant health promoter. After pathogens have been wiped out, some things need to be reintroduced to the soil. This second step is akin to following antibiotics with a vitamin regiment—get healthy and stay healthy. TerraGrow is easily blended into the soil, composed of five different strains of bacillus with beneficial attributes like minerals, nitrates, enzymes, ammonia, and phosphorous. TerraGrow increases plant growth, root strength, and nutrient absorption, which boosts the vigor and yield of crops.

Competitor on left, TerraGrow on right

Ray affirms the tenacity and resilience of Earth’s tough and seasoned exterior layer, “The soil which covers the Earth, in my view, is like the skin on a human. It will heal itself.” Growers can preemptively mitigate injurious pest infestations and prepare the soil for long prosperous seasons. BioSafe Systems’ soil programs are made to give farmers and their crops the best shot from the very start. The pair TerraStart HC and TerraGrow foster first-rate soil conditions without pathogens and are chock full of beneficial elements, which work together to propagate confidence and healthy yield.

Contact us to learn more about the Sustainable Soils Program

Disinfest and Defend for a Quality Crop Finish

Tank-mix OxiDate® 5.0 and Parka® to ensure optimal crop health and quality finish. These products work together seamlessly to protect plant surfaces from damaging conditions brought on by environmental factors.

Disinfest with OxiDate 5.0

OxiDate 5.0 prevents and controls plant pathogens that are activated and spread by wet weather, wind, and cross-contamination. Its broad-spectrum, on-contact activity targets harmful inoculum and spores to disrupt the disease cycle, mitigating spread and infection.

• Fast-acting, no risk of resistance
• Broad-spectrum, destroys tolerant organisms
• 0-day PHI, no harmful residues

Defend with Parka

Parka is designed to fortify the cuticle of growing fruit and foliage to reduce microfractures, minimize cracking from rain, improve finish, reduce postharvest disorders as well as provide sunburn protection.

• Food-grade ingredients
• Permeable and hydrophobic
• Tolerance exempt

By utilizing OxiDate 5.0 and Parka in a tank-mix, crops can be disinfested and freed from contaminates while the protective barrier of Parka minimizes potential for opportunistic infection. Reduce disease pressure and defend against abiotic stresses for a quality finish with OxiDate 5.0 and Parka.


BioSafe Systems Celebrates Arbor Day!

East Hartford, CT— In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, the employees of BioSafe Systems planted an October Glory Red Maple Tree outside our headquarters, one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s choice trees listed on their guide. It’s a small, local act that allows us to reconnect with the bigger picture and contribute to the global mission. The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, conservation, and education organization comprised of a million members, donors, and partners who support programs that make our world greener and healthier. BioSafe Systems’ product development manager, Patrick Clark said, “It was a wonderfully grounding experience to step away from typical work activities, put your hands in the dirt, plant a tree, and exercise one of our company’s core tenets; environmental stewardship.”

We chose the regal maple tree to reflect the values we cherish as a company, as a country, and within the families we employ: strength, endurance, and balance. On average, a single tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year and helps our environment by reducing the effects of climate change, detoxifying poisonous gasses, and balancing atmospheric temperatures. As a company that puts sustainability at its forefront, participating in Arbor Day reinforces the interconnectivity between the work we do, and the communities we serve on the planet we share.

Share Your #ArborDay
During the week of Arbor Day, your social post can turn into trees planted! The Arbor Day Foundation will plant one tree for EACH Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook post with the hashtag #ArborDay, up to 75,000 trees.

Looking at the hole we dug
After Planting

New Southwest Agriculture Representative to Bolster The West Coast Region

Remi Wright

East Hartford, CT— BioSafe Systems keeps reaching towards the west! We’re adding another resource to the Southwest Agriculture team; M. Remi Lohse will be concentrating her efforts in Texas and New Mexico regions and supporting the California sales teams and Yuma, AZ production team. Remi Lohse is a Chico, CA, native and currently lives in Texas with her family. She graduated and earned her degree from California State University and is an alumna of the Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL) program.

For the past decade, Remi has been building a career promoting and positioning biological crop protection and plant health products in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. The BioSafe Systems team’s confidence in her is well-placed. We look forward to seeing her succeed in bringing PAA-based chemistry to the agricultural industry, distributors, and growers specializing in various crops, including fruits, vegetables, cotton, and industrial hemp.

TerraGrow® Liquid

Microbial Plant Health Promoter

TerraGrow Liquid is a specialty blend of beneficial microbial organisms. When applied to the soil, TerraGrow Liquid quickly reestablishes beneficial microbes in the plant rhizosphere, improves nutrient availability, and plant health. When applied to plant tissue, TerraGrow Liquid enhances plant vigor, supports stress tolerance, and bolsters plant health.

TerraGrow Liquid is cultured through a single species fermentation process, blended, and tested under strict quality control conditions to ensure consistency and stability.

Active Ingredients

  • Refer to label
photo of red bell peppers
  • Improves plant stress tolerance
  • Stimulates plant growth and vigor
  • Promotes healthy rooting systems
  • Improves nutrient availability
photo of a watermelon

Agricultural Uses

Foliar Sprays

Boost plant health and improve stress tolerance.

Direct Inject/Chemigation

Automate your plant health program with a simple injection system and apply through overhead irrigation or drip application.

Cutting and Root Dip

Dip basal end of cuttings or bare roots into the solution immediately before planting to improve plant vigor.

Seed Treatment

Inoculate seeds prior to planting to help stimulate plant growth and vigor.

Proven 5-Bacillus Plant Health Package

Bacillus licheniformis

Highly virulent strain surviving in varied conditions, specifically targeting tied up nitrates helping to improve nitrogen efficiency in the plant and helping to release other bound-up soil nutrients. Foliar applications will promote plant health and vigor, plus improve the plant’s abiotic stress tolerance.

Bacillus subtilis

Naturally versatile strain, releases soil bound nutrients, powerful enzyme producer, elicits natural plant defenses, and enhances stress tolerance.

Bacillus pumilus

Rapidly colonizes around root structure creating a competitive exclusion scenario, also aids in ammonia utilization. Foliar applications shown to stimulate plan growth and stress tolerance.

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens

Proven to work preventatively through rapid establishment around root zone causing competitive exclusion against pathogens while also improving plants tolerance to abiotic stress.

Bacillus megaterium

Very fast grower, releases soil bound nutrients (especially phosphorous), and know plant growth promoter.

TerraStart® HC

Pre-Plant Soil Treatment

TerraStart HC is a powerful bactericide/fungicide/nematicide developed for effective soil treatment via chemigation. Its concentrated formula is designed to be uncompromisingly destructive on pathogens and nematodes, then the chemistry simply breaks down into water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide for minimal environmental impact. TerraStart HC delivers compelling and immediate results with no required buffer zones and minimal plant-back restrictions.

Active Ingredients

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Peroxyacetic acid


  • Broad-spectrum activity - Eradicates resistant disease pathogens
  • Non-residual chemistry - Breaks down to into water and air
  • Zero-hour REI for in-field applications - Save time and return to field immediately after treatment
  • No plant back restrictions - Ideal for early plantings and double cropping
  • No buffer zones required

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New Postharvest Professional to Represent the West Coast Region

Geoff Hollenbeck

East Hartford, CT — BioSafe Systems’ has brought a new resource to the team for the west coast, Geoffrey Hollenbeck. Based out of Western Riverside, California, Geoffrey earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Science from Cal Poly Pomona and holds a Pest Control Advisor’s license with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. He is in the process of obtaining a Certified Crop Advisor’s license from the American Society of Agronomy. Most recently, Geoffrey was employed as a Postharvest Technical Advisor with JBT Corporation where his focus was on providing solutions to mitigate produce decay.

Geoffrey will be responsible for working with all customers on the west coast to help facilitate applications and installation of BioSafe Systems SMART technology for both our standard peroxyacetic acid (PAA) chemistry and OxyFusion on-site generated PAA.

BioSafe Systems offers agricultural packers, processors, and growing operations sustainable and effective food safety and postharvest solutions. The technology platform provides real-time monitoring, automated Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance and documentation that is simple to use and cost effective.

TerraGrow® Liquid, New Microbial Plant Health Promoter

East Hartford, CT— TerraGrow Liquid is a specialty blend of beneficial microbial organisms formulated to invigorate plant health. When applied to the soil, it quickly establishes beneficial microbes in the root zone strengthening the rhizosphere, improving nutrient availability, promoting root growth, and bolstering plant health. When applied to foliage, TerraGrow Liquid stimulates plant growth and vigor, boosts abiotic stress tolerance, supports strong flowering and fruit quality, and improves overall crop health.

To develop our new TerraGrow Liquid, we’ve combined five Bacillus species, well-known beneficial organisms, with inert microbial food and a few of our own biostimulant additions, including protein hydrolysate and kelp extract. The new TerraGrow Liquid is a versatile product for agricultural and horticultural crops applied via chemigation to treat soil mediums and as a foliar spray on plants. TerraGrow Liquid is a diverse tool that should be kept in every grower’s toolbox.

Questions? Ask us below.

BioSafe Systems Purchases and Renovates New Innovation Center

East Hartford, CT— BioSafe Systems is expanding our business by investing in property near our East Hartford, CT, headquarters and establishing a new Innovation Center. The Innovation Center will benefit our goals for producing sustainable chemistry, finding new and improved applications, and continue developing new technology for the agribusiness industry. As always, we aim to be the best in supporting our customers and all our efforts are to help them reach success using our tools and chemical solutions.

The repurposed building will house our all-female lab team and the space to advance as a productive research and development team. As we move and evolve as a society and a company, the Innovation Center will also accommodate the engineering department and their technological advancements in equipment and applications of our PAA chemistry.

team at the lab

Sustainability has been a pillar of the company since its formation over twenty years ago. BioSafe Systems took advantage of a locally available space and opted for renovation over new construction. Gratefully, the teams have moved into the Innovation Center and begun their work to better protect people and the planet.

Jeff Kline, our Vice President of Sales says, “We have pioneered PAA uses for horticultural and agricultural applications for over 20 years. We built manufacturing plants to improve response times and reduce our carbon footprint. And now, the beginning of a new phase of research and innovation at BioSafe Systems, which will increase our capacity to serve all our markets. Thank you to our customers who have supported us and believed in us.”

For more information contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088 or visit

New Horticulture Technical Representative a Welcome Addition to Southeast Region