The response of crops to nitrogen is both predictable and well established. The optimum rate of nitrogen depends on both the value of the crop being grown and the cost of the nitrogen. However, the value of nitrogen remains high and the return on investment is unquestionable.
Spring applications of NPKS fertilisers have consistently outperformed traditional autumn applications of P&K fertilisers in independent trials. So why do so many growers still apply phosphate and potash in the autumn rather than in the spring.
Nutrition has always been important for good establishment of oilseed rape. Despite the continued decline in oilseed rape in recent years, there is still a significant area sown around the UK so autumn nutrition still has an important part to play.
Phosphorus is considered the second most important nutrient after nitrogen but whilst phosphate availability in soil is influenced by many factors, including pH, it could be that the actual form of phosphate can be one of the greatest influences on crop availability.
Many cereal crops struggle to get moving in early spring due to low phosphorus levels as a result of low phosphate availability. Giving these crops a quick 'energy boost' from foliar phosphate is the best way to get them started.
The nutrition of a sugar-beet plant has a large influence on the growth and development and importantly on the sugar yield. Several key nutrients are involved and it's important each of these is present in sufficient quantity to avoid compromising the yield.
Late season vegetable brassica crops are susceptible to several quality issues which can reduce marketable yield. Boosting levels of calcium and boron in these crops via nutrition will prevent many of these quality issues and so can increase profitability.
Higher temperatures bring both good and bad news for strawberry growers. The good news is increased production and demand for strawberries but the downside is managing heat stress and other challenges. Controlling the crop through these tricky periods can be made easier by utilising foliar feeds.
Blueberry nutrition and fertigation is very much a consequence of the rooting system and pH range. Blueberries are more acid-loving than most soft fruits and also have a less efficient root system which has consequences for fertigation recommendations.
Monopotassium phosphate, otherwise known as MKP is a product synonymous with fruit production that is widely used, primarily as a flower boosting green fruit supporter. However, at this point in time, MKP is sometimes difficult to get hold of, so many growers are asking if there is a better alternative.
Apples and pears are both susceptible to hale damage in late spring with the potential for both fruits and leaves to be damaged. Whilst crop nutrition cant control the weather it can help mitigate some of the effects and help damaged crops recover.
As the soft fruit production season nears an end with final harvests underway it is important to keep a focus on nutrition to avoid carrying any issues over to next season so here are a few recommendations for strawberry and raspberry growers to ensure crops go into dormancy in good condition.