Incorporating foliar application into your fertilisation routine

For a long time growers were concerned exclusively with maintaining soil fertility to ensure the health of their crops. While soil fertility is paramount (after all, soil is more than just dirt), this aspect should not come at the expense of foliar fertilisation. As technology has advanced, we have discovered new ways to inject nutrients into crops, mitigating deficiencies and boosting crop size and yield. Nutrients applied through the leaves is a cost effective and efficient method of fertilisation.

Both soil and foliar fertilising methods have their benefits and drawbacks. However, Roots, Shoots and Fruits’ products offer a solution that leads to healthier crops and higher yields in an economical and environmentally friendly manner, thanks to BIOMIN  and Glycine chelation technology.

Importance of Soil Fertilisation

Good quality soil is the essential foundation for crops. Promoting a nutrient-rich environment with organic matter and an ecosystem of soil organisms to break down the matter into important nutrients is a must. As crops take up those nutrients, soil fertilisation is necessary to keep the soil nutriated.

Conditioning the soil with ‘passive’ organic matter in the form of humic and fulvic acids is also extremely helpful. Humic acids improve water retention and make nutrients more available for uptake by the roots. Fulvic acids are composed of smaller molecules than humic acids. They are able to bind to nutrients, through a process called chelation, and thereby facilitate their absorption by the roots.

However, soil can’t always be relied upon to provide all the nutrients necessary to keep crops healthy. There are times when conditions reduce the quality of the soil by making it excessively dry or wet.

Without sufficient moisture, roots cannot take up any nutrients, even if nutrients are present. Excess water may create anaerobic conditions where pathogens thrive or ‘leach’ the nutrients away from the roots. This can lead to crops developing specific deficiencies. This is where foliar fertilisation comes in.

What Foliar Fertilisation Can Do For You

Foliar application of nutrients is extremely useful in mitigating the impact of circumstances where conditions limit the availability of nutrients in the soil. If a crop develops a particular nutrient deficiency, foliar fertilisation is the most effective way to solve the issue in a rapid and highly targeted way.

For example, cold, wet and hot dry soils lock up Phosphorous. Trace elements are difficult for plants to literally find via the root especially without the help of Mycorrhizal fungi or if there is a proliferation of soil organisms decomposing organic matter, they may out-compete the crops by locking up valuable nutrients in their bodies to use in the decomposing process. These are just a couple of ways whereby nutrient becomes unavailable to crop.  In such a case, foliar fertilisation is the best option to bypass this nutrient “lock-up” in the soil.

Despite the benefits, using substandard foliar applied products can have negative effects. Those that use synthetic chelating agents like EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) are absorbed less effectively into the leaf due to the large size of the molecule. It can also get stuck inside the plant, reducing its mobility and requiring extra applications to be effective.

How We Can Help

Roots, Shoots and Fruits offers the perfect solution to this issue. Our products contain a Biomin technology that uses a patented process involving Glycine chelation. Glycine is the smallest of the amino acids. When two Glycine bind to a metal ion, forming a Glycine chelate, they are readily absorbed by the plant’s leaf and transported to critical growth points efficiently.

Resolving nutrient deficiencies quickly and effectively is crucial to developing higher quality produce and higher yields. Many trials have been carried out to test the efficacy of Biomin Glycine chelated products. One trial demonstrated the positive effects of Biomin foliar applied Iron on potato yields [1]. Evidence showed in another case that applying Biomin Calcium product to grape vines reduced Botrytis by 48%.[2]

Increasing the quality, yield and resilience of produce will not only improve growers’ bottom lines, but also help reduce costs. Also, as an organic product, our Glycine chelated fertilizers are environmentally friendly.

If you’re a commercial grower or consultant, email Molly at RSF@RD2.CO.NZ to book a free nutrition consult.

[1] Read the full study “Effects of iron on Potato Growth”

[2] Read more here.