Better Yields Through Science

ORCAL Territory Manager Epitomizes Company’s Mantra of ‘Putting the Farmer First'

by Larry Aylward – Meister Media

Why does Thomas Putzel enjoy his job?

“Because I work for a company that puts the farmer first,” says Putzel, ORCAL’s Southwest Territory Manager. ORCAL, Inc. is an agricultural, consumer and toll manufacturing company that specializes in crop protection products and sells exclusively through distributors.

Putzel enjoys telling stories about using the company’s innovative technology to help solve challenges for farmers in his territory. A few years ago, a citrus grower contacted Putzel because he was having trouble ridding his citrus crop of a mealybug outbreak. The grower had heard about ORCAL’s LIME SULFUR ULTRA, an organic, 3-in-1, fungicide, miticide, and insecticide.

Thomas went to meet with the grower and to take a tour of the orchard. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was the worst outbreak of mealybugs I’d ever seen,” he said. “This was a top-notch grower who had tried 3 other well-known products without success.” Knowing this farmer needed a solution and needed it quickly, Thomas suggested LIME SULFUR ULTRA. He knew it would work, but he wasn’t quite sure how many applications it would take. After discussing several options with the farm manager, they took an aggressive approach using a high water volume and “Two days later, the mealybugs were gone,” Putzel says.

Similar scenarios have unfolded many times in the seven years that Putzel has been selling LIME SULFUR ULTRA. The feedback Putzel receives ranges from “I wish we would have tried it sooner” to “I can’t believe it works as well as it does.”

Putzel isn’t surprised. Another reason he enjoys his job so much is because he believes in the company and the performance of the products he represents. Putzel notes that lime sulfur has been around for 150 years, but the ORCAL version “is not your grandfather’s lime sulfur.”

The Junction City, Oregon-based company’s mantra is “better yields through science,” which Putzel says isn’t just a catchy tagline. “It is who we are,” he says, noting the company’s products aim to literally help farmers do more with less. “We’re a small west coast company, but we have a global impact.”

ORCAL was founded in 1997, with a goal is to form “exceptional customer relationships through unique, effective solutions that exceed industry standards.”

That’s another thing Putzel likes about the job: serving his customers. Putzel believes the quality of ORCAL’s arsenal of products makes his job easy. He specifically notes LIME SULFUR ULTRA, a reduced-rate, non-systemic product for use on conventional and organic crops, including stone fruit, almonds, citrus, cane berries, grapes, walnuts, and pistachios. With an active ingredient of calcium polysulfide, LIME SULFUR ULTRA is effective against mites, aphids, assorted scales and mealybug, rust, Alternaria, PTB, Phomopsis, assorted cankers, powdery mildew and many other pests. With no known resistance to controlled pests, it can be used in rotation with conventional pesticides to limit their resistance. The product doesn’t require a closed system and is safe to use around pollinators.

What Putzel likes most about LIME SULFUR ULTRA is the value it offers. With its triple action and low-use rates, an application of LIME SULFUR ULTRA costs a fraction of the price compared to other programs. “Instead of having to mix 9-15 gallons of product with 100 gallons of water, only 2-3 gallons of LIME SULFUR ULTRA is needed in dormant applications,” Putzel says, noting that in-season applications can be as little as 2 quarts depending on the situation. And growers don’t have to mix multiple products to treat mites, insects, and diseases – all they need is LIME SULFUR ULTRA.

If a grower’s standard tank mix costs $80-$100 per acre, LIME SULFUR ULTRA would comprise only $15-$20 of that cost, Putzel estimates. And he reminds us that, “The best way to make a buck is to save a buck.”

With increased regulations and supply chain constraints limiting the number of traditional pesticides, not to mention the increased costs of inputs and resistance of such products, Putzel says more growers are turning to LIME SULFUR ULTRA because of its price, performance, and availability. It is manufactured in the U.S. and can be delivered quickly.

Thomas also shared “Most people relate lime sulfur and powdery mildew in grapes. But conventional almonds are the single largest user by far, second is citrus. Grapes come in at number 3.” And now that it was just registered for in-season use in walnuts and pistachios… 2023 could push grapes even further down the list. “The California walnut industry has needed an effective economical solution for years, and LIME SULFUR ULTRA should prove to be that tool,” he added. “Bot (Botryosphaeria) is a real problem for walnut growers, and I am so happy that we can offer this highly effective, low-cost option. It is a real game changer for the industry as a whole!”

But for Putzel, it’s not about selling ORCAL’s products. It’s about helping customers solve their challenges. “We are in the relationship business, not a transactional one. Lime sulfur has been around for over a hundred years. It was the standard for decades across most permanent crops in the west, but we developed a way to make it better and safer. We focused on making it easy and economical,” he says. “It’s the right thing to do.”