With the new year fast approaching, OMEX soft fruit agronomist, Neil Holmes, takes a look at ways soft fruit growers can achieve high quality yield in 2021.
As the new growing season begins in 2021, those growers who have sheltered and south-facing sites will begin to force their crops.
In strawberry crops this usually means forcing a June bearer such as Malling™ Cententary. Establishment of any strawberry variety will benefit from the enhanced rooting and biostimulant effects of Kelpak® applications. This seaweed extract contains several plant hormones including auxins and gibberellic acids which promote root development and thus can alleviate poor nutrient transmission in cold growing media.
Malling™ Centenary is a variety which is known to have a high Calcium demand. A deficiency in Calcium uptake can lead to tip burn and damage to emerging flower trusses. Assuming there is a good supply of Calcium via the drip, uptake can be improved by changing the growing environment to have a positive transpiration rate. This is because Calcium is a nutrient that is only moved within the transpiration stream through the plant. During periods of poor transpiration, CalMax Ultra can be applied which uses a Calcium pump primer called AXM to enhance Calcium uptake into cells.
Phosphites can promote early root growth through their biostimulatory effect and can be applied either as a foliar application or via the drip. If applying via the drip, it is important to increase the amount put in the stock tank to compensate for the dilution effect. For newly planted crops, Biomex plus combines the biostimulatory effects of phosphites with the symbiotic bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. This bacterial species colonises the root zone, shielding the root hairs from pathogenic fungal attack and it also secretes compounds to increase the availability of nutrients. Subsequently, Biomex Plus-treated plants are better positioned to cope with abiotic (environmental) and biotic (pathogenic) stresses.
The health of blueberry crops can be enhanced by the early season application of Sulflo which provides micronised elemental Sulphur used in amino acid synthesis.