It has been a difficult season for many New Zealand growers. What was expected to be a successful harvest, for many, turned into devastation, with many crops being destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Your post-harvest process is a critical time to set your crops up to come back stronger than ever next season. With the right approach, you can help boost and improve quality production for future years.
To produce high-quality crops to meet the standards set by your customers is to ensure your post-harvest requirements are met. This includes adequate soil and foliar applications.
In this blog, we will dive into the two most common post-harvest requirements.
Soil is (literally) the foundation of your crop production, so it is vital to maintain its health and fertility. Testing your soil is crucial to determine nutrient levels and their ratios, pH and soil Organic Matter levels, all of which determine and impact the Cation Exchange Capacity and Anion Storage Capacity of your soil. Knowledge enables you to make informed decisions about what needs to be done and the appropriate products, if any, to apply to ensure high-quality produce. Remember you cannot manage what you don’t measure, so look to obtain further information than just the basics from your local laboratory when testing your soil.
It is important to remember that different nutrients are required for crops at different stages of their growth. It is also important to consider the type of products applied, some products are soluble and may leach into waterways, others complex easily in the soil and become unavailable to crops, whilst others may be released slowly over time. Consider the application method, timing and rate as well as understanding how Humic acids and Fulvic acids enable improved fertiliser uptake, overcoming loss of nitrogen into waterways or alternatively the binding of toxins or heavy metals such as copper, aluminum, or even soil salinity can be positively impacted.
Increase your soil structure and help your plants thrive by adding beneficial organisms. Products such as Superzyme contain beneficial bacteria and fungi . These organisms when applied to the soil provide many benefits to plants, including the all important cleaning of soil. These organisms secrete antagonistic substances to inhibit pathogens or provide plants with systemic resistance to pathogens. It’s not rocket science, it’s the natural order of predator versus prey in the soil, as is seen in nature on the great savannahs.
Rootella is a highly-concentrated Mycorrhizal Fungi product that forms symbiotic relationships with root systems to help increase the flow of nutrients from the soil whilst also providing protection from the harshness of soil microfauna and flora. Read more about how adding Mycorrhizal fungi can reduce your fertiliser usage and increase mineral uptake here.
Foliar nutrition supplements soil applied fertilisers, especially during critical stages of growth. Bioavailable foliar mineral applications can help meet the nutrient requirements of your crops, especially during times when they are not able to obtain sufficient minerals from the soil. Most crops suffer from potassium and phosphorous deficiencies, yet the soil nutrient levels can be high. Soils are very dynamic and the chemistry means that minerals such as phosphorus are predominantly unavailable during cold and wet periods and even hot and dry seasons, so alternative foliar applications of systemic products are highly recommended to overcome these plant stresses ensuring quality production.
Adjunctive foliar applications of potassium can provide growers crops with nutrition levels over and above that which the plants can obtain via their root systems, allowing growers to obtain quality production that their crops may not have been able to meet previously. However, applying foliar nutrition, particularly nitrogen or products that have a portion of nitrogen in them, at the wrong growth stage or by applying too much or too little can be detrimental to the quality and growth rate of your crops, affecting yield. Understanding plant phenological periods and needs and utilising bioavailable foliar applied products can improve production and specifically quality.
Post-harvest is the best time to increase nutrient levels before the leaves fall and the plants move into dormancy. Plants at the end of harvest are generally exhausted and require immediate hits of phosphorous energy and large amounts of potassium have been utilised in ripening crops. These are often the fundamental minerals that are overlooked during post harvest applications, whilst nitrogen can easily be overused and implicated in many crop disorders.
Read more about our products to help you through your post-harvest. We have numerous trials and testimonials to support our product’s effectiveness in commercial fields, read here.