Industry Professionals’ Advice On Plant Nutrition

Wayne Tucker

When it comes to crop protection, it’s easy to forget how important plant nutrients can be in helping crops ward off potential problems, from voracious pests to deadly diseases. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: The best defense is a good offense. And there’s no more effective offense than a healthy, strong, vigorous plant.

So for this, the third installment in our four-part series on crop protection, we talked to a couple of experts on how to ensure your crops can be as healthy as possible. Wayne Tucker is with Bio S.I. Technology, LLC, whose products help fertilizers and chemicals be more efficient and rebuild, restore, and renew the soil at the same time. Ken Dart is the national technical and marketing manager for Agro-K Corp. The company’s products are formulated to be quickly and rapidly used by vegetable crops at peak times for optimal performance.

Q1 What are the key attributes you look for when develop-ing plant nutrient products for vegetable crops?

Wayne Tucker: [They include:]
what vegetable is being grown; what type of soil will it be grown in; water availability; what the crop nutrition requirements are; and will my products help overall production, nutrient uptake, and reduce cost.

Ken Dart: There are two things you have to look at to be successful:

1) For the product to be formulated in a way that provides quick and thorough uptake in a safe manner. It also needs to go in quickly enough in those peak demand windows. If the product doesn’t get in in that peak demand window, the grower isn’t getting the full value of the application.

2) It also needs to be mixable with insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators to avoid separate application trips. The product is only as good as the timing the grower uses for the application. It can be a great product, but if the timing is wrong, the grower won’t receive the full value of the application.

Q2 What are vegetable growers saying is most important when it comes to plant nutrition?

Tucker: [Vegetable growers are asking:] Will the products I am using help my production and help control costs?
[They also ask] what products can I use to improve quality, shelf life, and reach the market earlier? Our nutrition programs address these concerns as well as their cause — not just the symptoms.

Dart: The biggest thing they discuss is balanced nutrition to achieve their quality objectives. That can mean increasing marketable quality in yield, increasing shelf and storage life, and reducing specific issues like tip burn in lettuce, blossom end rot in tomatoes, too small of heads in broccoli and cauliflower, poor color in tomatoes, and premature breakdown during transport.

Q3 What types of products do you have coming down the pike for vegetable growers?

Tucker: We have new microbial inoculants that have microbes as well as mycorrhizae in them. These products will help reduce crusting, possibly earlier maturity, better nutrient uptake, as well as make water and fertilizer
more efficient.

Dart: We have some nutrient-based phosphites that allow the grower to use the right nutrient at the right time in a phosphite formulation that allows very rapid and complete uptake of the nutrient, even through waxy cuticles, into the plant quickly enough to support peak demand. The phosphite formulation allows for complete plant movement through the xylem and phloem.

Q4 Where do you see the future of the vegetable crop nutrition category headed?

Tucker: We believe the products must address several problems the growers are facing at one time. So they will have to be effective in plant nutrition, but also soil rebuilding and improving nutrient uptake by the plants.

Dart: Two things: The first is much more effective tie-in between crop nutrition and disease management in the crop for more effective disease control. Growers are going to begin to understand the benefits of balanced crop nutrition as a significant cultural method to improve their disease control and improve the postharvest performance of their crop.
The second is grocery retailers and the growers themselves will begin to see they can influence the food value by how growers fertilize their crops. By how they utilize calcium and the calcium balance with nitrogen, and use of balanced nutrition, it improves the food value of that crop for the consumer.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
GrapesWashington Winegrape Harvest Earlier Than Ever
September 3, 2015
  This year’s juice and winegrape harvest in Washington is historic. Michelle Moyer, Washington State University assistant professor, Dept. of Read More
FruitsBeaudry, Watkins, And Davenport Named Fellows Of American Society for Horticultural Science
September 3, 2015
Randolph Beaudry of Michigan State University (MSU), Joan Davenport of Washington State University (WSU), and Christopher Watkins of Cornell University Read More
GrapesWildfires Raise Fears Of Grape Smoke Taint
September 3, 2015
 The current wildfires in Washington have left many growers wondering if smoke taint could impact the flavor of their winegrapes. Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Throughout September
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Greening
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orchards
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungicide
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award Recipient
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
The Latest
GrapesWashington Winegrape Harvest Earlier Than Ever
September 3, 2015
  This year’s juice and winegrape harvest in Washington is historic. Michelle Moyer, Washington State University assistant professor, Dept. of Read More
FruitsBeaudry, Watkins, And Davenport Named Fellows Of Ameri…
September 3, 2015
Randolph Beaudry of Michigan State University (MSU), Joan Davenport of Washington State University (WSU), and Christopher Watkins of Cornell University Read More
GrapesWildfires Raise Fears Of Grape Smoke Taint
September 3, 2015
 The current wildfires in Washington have left many growers wondering if smoke taint could impact the flavor of their winegrapes. Read More
FruitsOrganic Industry Unites To “Bust Myths” Thr…
September 2, 2015
Organic Trade Association members join forces in social media blitz to address misconceptions about organic production. Read More
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Gree…
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Apples & PearsHard Cider Organization Offers Accredited Program
September 1, 2015
United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) introduces Sicera, the first-ever hard Cider Certification Program. This accreditation program is designed Read More
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orcha…
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungi…
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award …
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Ho…
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Produ…
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
Business PlanningBe Food Safety Recall-Ready [Opinion]
August 31, 2015
No one ever wants to make someone sick after consuming fresh produce, but in spite of the protocols in place, recallls happen and you must be prepared. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainable Options For Controlling Brown Marmorated St…
August 31, 2015
A researcher from Rutgers University offers pointers to help you control this pest of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall …
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More