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

Farm ManagementIndustry Organizations Sound Off On President’s Immigration Plan
November 21, 2014
Agriculture is not given the attention it so sorely deserves when it comes to the immigration debate. Read More
Insect ControlDon’t Turn Your Back On Striped Blister Beetles
November 21, 2014
Learn how to ID, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable pest. Read More
CitrusRamped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers
November 21, 2014
Biologics company Beneficial Insectary now rearing two species in its California facility. Read More
NutsArizona Pistachio And Pecan Growers Benefiting From High Prices
November 21, 2014
Pecan production alone is expected to double in the next 10 years. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With The International Fruit Tree Association Study Tour To Italy Part 2 [Slideshow]
November 21, 2014
Attention to detail is evident in the production of high quality feathered apple trees at GRIBA’s nursery. Read More
Fruits2014 California Winegrape Harvest: Outstanding
November 21, 2014
It’s the earliest crop of the decade, but still a third in a string of great vintages. Read More
FruitsFetzer Vineyards Pioneers Zero Waste
November 21, 2014
Company achieves top sustainability certification by diverting 98% of its waste from the landfill. Read More
VegetablesFormer Harris Seeds Co. CEO, Per Jensen, Passes At 85
November 21, 2014
A passion for plants defined longtime industry influencer. Read More
GrapesPerfect Storm Hurts New York Concord Grape Growers
November 21, 2014
More than 10,000 tons of juice grapes are abandoned because of too much production and no market. Read More
FruitsClassic Turkey Day Dinner Costing Consumers More This Year
November 20, 2014
Despite increase, a family of 10 can still get stuffed for less than $50. Read More

The Latest

Farm ManagementIndustry Organizations Sound Off On President’s Immig…
November 21, 2014
Agriculture is not given the attention it so sorely deserves when it comes to the immigration debate. Read More
Insect ControlDon’t Turn Your Back On Striped Blister Beetles
November 21, 2014
Learn how to ID, the survival and spread, as well as management methods of this vegetable pest. Read More
CitrusRamped-Up Predatory Mite Production To Benefit Growers
November 21, 2014
Biologics company Beneficial Insectary now rearing two species in its California facility. Read More
NutsArizona Pistachio And Pecan Growers Benefiting From Hig…
November 21, 2014
Pecan production alone is expected to double in the next 10 years. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With The International Fruit Tree Associati…
November 21, 2014
Attention to detail is evident in the production of high quality feathered apple trees at GRIBA’s nursery. Read More
Fruits2014 California Winegrape Harvest: Outstanding
November 21, 2014
It’s the earliest crop of the decade, but still a third in a string of great vintages. Read More
FruitsFetzer Vineyards Pioneers Zero Waste
November 21, 2014
Company achieves top sustainability certification by diverting 98% of its waste from the landfill. Read More
VegetablesFormer Harris Seeds Co. CEO, Per Jensen, Passes At 85
November 21, 2014
A passion for plants defined longtime industry influencer. Read More
GrapesPerfect Storm Hurts New York Concord Grape Growers
November 21, 2014
More than 10,000 tons of juice grapes are abandoned because of too much production and no market. Read More
FruitsClassic Turkey Day Dinner Costing Consumers More This Y…
November 20, 2014
Despite increase, a family of 10 can still get stuffed for less than $50. Read More
Insect ControlFlorida Vegetable Growers Gain Access To New Nematicide
November 20, 2014
Methyl bromide alternative Nimitz approved for use on tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash. Read More
EquipmentHighlights From EIMA International In Italy [Slideshow]
November 19, 2014
The 2014 edition of the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition (EIMA) boasted a record number of attendees from 124 countries. Read More
Farm ManagementVegetableGrowerConnect Delivers Results For Growers And…
November 19, 2014
Suppliers and growers got down to business in San Diego discussing current needs, solutions, and ways to increase efficiencies on the farm. Browse this slideshow for VegetableGrowerConnect highlights. Read More
FruitsFixing Farm Labor Woes Worth The Extra Effort [Opinion]
November 19, 2014
40th annual Ag Labor Relations Forum encourages outreach and action. Read More
BerriesPackaging Company’s Campaign To Benefit Future Organi…
November 19, 2014
Sambrailo Packaging of Watsonville, CA, has partnered with California Certified Organic Farmers and will donate a portion of the sales of clamshells made from plastic bottles. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With The International Fruit Tree Associati…
November 19, 2014
Win Cowgill of Rutgers University details a trip through the one of the most concentrated fruit growing areas in the world, the South Tyrol region of Italy. Read More
IrrigationAlmond Grower Honored For Water Efficiency
November 18, 2014
Ongoing drought highlights the efforts of third-generation Madera County grower Tom Rogers. Read More
CitrusWomen’s Impact On Agriculture Impressive [Opinion…
November 18, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says the long-term sustainability of farming depends on our youth. Read More