Calcium on Apples

Why is calcium important?

Calcium is the third most important element in a plant. And, calcium is the fifth most abundant element on the planet. It makes sense that traditionally, growers don’t apply much calcium, because they assume the plant will get what they need from the soil. But, calcium is usually found in a form that is not easily taken up by plants.

In an apple tree, the leaves, new shoots, and fruit all take calcium and the nutrient will be found in the tissues and the root, but, the fruit cannot compete with the other parts of the plant hence why the fruit often doesn’t get enough calcium. That is why calcium deficiencies are evidenced on the fruit, rather than the rest of the tree. In apples, a calcium deficiency causes a disorder known as bitter pit. Bitter pit is a physiological breakdown of the cell walls in the fruit that occur below the skin of the fruit. For that reason, when scouting for calcium deficiencies, it is important to test the fruit, rather than relying solely on leaf or soil tests.BMSB.-Bitter-Pit-1h84hub

In this particular trial, Horticulturists were testing for fruit firmness, how many apples produced on each tree, and how much the fruit weighs. At the North Central Research Station High-Density Apple Orchard, researchers test approximately 10 apples per experimental plot for firmness. They use a pentameter, which measures the pressure needed to break the cell part inside the apple. They test four spots on each apple, as research has shown there is a difference in firmness between the side of the apple exposed to sun, versus the shade-side. The average fruit firmness is reported.

A trial of the effects of LiberateCa™ in 2015 at the NCRS High-density Apple Orchard in Michigan showed that the apples treated with LiberateCa™ fall close to the preferred range of 14.5 lb – 17.5 lb for fruit firmness, while the untreated trees’ fruit firmness was significantly higher than desired. In addition, the treated trees had more apples per tree, and overall yield per tree increased as well. These trees were planted at 3 ½ feet between trees, 11 feet between rows, with a planting density of 1,100 trees per acre.Ca on apples

“If you can hang two more apples per tree, with 1,100 trees, you have 2,200 more apples – and that means more money in your pocket.” Horticulturist Jacob Emling

Research Field Days 2015

Winter Wheat Fertilizer Program Comparisons (13-707)

Experiment Info: 13-707

Planted: 9/24
Variety: Red Devil
Population: 1.85 million
Row Spacing: 7.5″
Previous Crop: Navy Beans
Plot Size: 15′ x 265′
Replications: 4
Top Dress:  4/5
Harvested: 7/16

Soil Test Values (ppm):

pH: 6.7
CEC: 12.4
% OM:  2.8
Bray P1: 15
K: 132
S: 6
% K: 2.7
% Mg: 21.2
% Ca: 75.9
% H: 0
% Na: 0.2
Zn: 1.2
Mn: 5
B: 0.5


To compare fertilizer program rates and sources for winter wheat. Fall applied fertilizer programs have been researched for a number of years at the NCRS. Comparisons of a soil test program to a basic program of Pro-Germinator and Micro 500 have been tested the last 5 years to determine the importance of following a soil test. In this year’s experiment , a soil test program of 8.5 gal/A Pro-Germinator, 1 gal/A Sure-K, 2 qt/A Micro 500
and 2 gal/A access was compared to 4.25 gal/A Pro-Germinator with 2 qt/A Micro 500. These programs were also compared to a conventional fertilizer program of 10-34-0, ATS, Manganese and Zinc. Yield results appear on the chart below.


• All fertilizer treatments increased wheat yield over the nitrogen only treatment.

• Although the soil test program did have a higher yield than the other fertilizer programs, it was not statistically significant. Similar treatments have been evaluated in the past at the NCRS with a 2 bu average yield advantage to the soil test program. In all cases, the additional fertilizer costs were not covered by the yield increase.

• The addition of access to the fertilizer program did not influence yield.

• The conventional program yielded similar to the other fertilizer programs.

Side Dress More Than Nitrogen? Yes You Can.

Can you side-dress more than nitrogen? Yes you can.

Side dressing is an effective and efficient way to provide in-season nitrogen to growing crops, but nitrogen isn’t the only nutrient that can be side dressed. Most crops use a variety of nutrients throughout the growing season, and supplying those along with nitrogen in your side dress application is a good way to make sure your crop has the all fertilizer it needs, when it needs it most.

6 Ways to Get More Out of Your Applied Fertilizer

getmoreoutofappliedfertilizer11. Take advantage of wintertime promotions. As cold as it may be in some parts of the country, the clock is ticking on wintertime promotions. If you haven’t already, now is the time to contact a local agronomist to take advantage of money-saving sales on your 2014 plant nutrition program. Whether you’re a new client looking for rebates to help convert your planter or drill so you can apply liquid fertilizer, or an existing customer just looking to reduce your input costs; AgroLiquid has a program for you. But you know what they say about which bird gets the worm – take action early, to boost profits later.

2. Consult an agronomist for a complete plant nutrition program. You know your fields better than anyone. That’s why combining your familiarity and knowledge with the expertise of a good agronomist can be the difference between a good year and a great one. AgroLiquid agronomists can help you make sure you leave no nutrient unaddressed, and no yield potential in the field.

3. Don’t forget your micros. N, P and K are important, but we now know micronutrients are, too.  Not only can micros boost yield, in some cases they’ve been shown to bolster crop health, increase quality and ward off disease. Learn more at our MicroLink page.

4. Brush up on the latest research. Between equipment tune-ups, taxes and pre-plant planning, there is little actual downtime for today’s producers, but don’t let continuing education slip through the cracks. Reading through some of the latest research in seeds, crop nutrition, and plant nutrition will help you make the best possible decisions for the coming year. The AgroLiquid 2013 Research Report is a great place to start. After that, don’t forget to dig through our research results archive, too.

5. Consider Nitrogen efficiency enhancers. Supporting your crop’s ability to utilize nitrogen is one way to make sure what you apply to your fields pays you back in yields. Nitrogen enhancing products such as AgroLiquid’s eNhance, can help you get more while applying less. Learn more about eNhance.

6. Apply all your nutrients in one application. You may be able to apply all of your nutrients at planting time; avoiding excess passes over the field which saves time and money. Learn more about planting time application.

Effectiveness of Side-dressing

Side-dress is a great time to apply the potassium and micronutrients that your crop may be missing. If you didn’t get potash applied last fall, maybe the weather changed your fertilizer strategies, or you aren’t set up to apply liquid on your planter and want to balance your fertilizer program with needed micronutrients. Maybe you want to push this season’s crop to a higher level of yield potential. AgroLiquid’s Sure-K and microLink products allow you to nutritionally balance your side-dress nitrogen application efficiently and economically.

June Strawberry Production

Start strawberries off right with AgroLiquid fertility products

Growers have a short time window to establish plantings once June-bearing strawberries are in the ground. In the fall, strawberries will require large amounts of energy for bud formation, a process that will shape yields for the next year.

Can AgroLiquid products help increase yields for commercial strawberry production? Research proves they can.

AgroLiquid Strawberry Trial Results

Agronomists at Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers compared their liquid fertility program to a conventional one to see what the effect would be on the yields of June-bearing strawberries.


Harvest results show that greater yield is achievable with less actual fertilizer applied. This not only results in cost-savings, but also provides a positive environmental benefit in the sandy soils where strawberries are commonly grown.

The AgroLiquid program out-yielded the conventional fertility program on three out of four individual harvests and when all four measured harvests were combined (See Figure A1). The most significant result was in nutrient use efficiency, which was three times greater for the AgroLiquid program.


Nutrient Needs for Strawberries

AgroLiquid products, with their unsurpassed application flexibility and research proven performance, can provide a strong nutritional foundation for June-bearing strawberries. Whatever the nutrient need, AgroLiquid has a product that offers quick, effective results.

  • Nitrogen – Nutrient demands for strawberries escalate in the fall. A majority of nitrogen should be applied prior to flower bud formation for optimal yields. High NRGN™ is a multi-form nitrogen fertilizer with one percent sulfur for effective, season-long nitrogen availability (27-0-0-1S).
  • Phosphorus – A certain amount of phosphorus is necessary for strawberries to develop strong fruits and healthy roots. Pro-Germinator™ is a high quality, dual-form phosphate fertilizer, 30% is available for immediate uptake. The remaining 70% has superior usability well into the growing season (9-24-3-0.1Fe).
  • Potassium – Potassium influences fruit development and fruit quality, as well as water movement and enzymatic processes within strawberry plants. Sure-K™ provides a versatile, chloride- and hydroxide-free potassium source for extremely efficient results in all cropping environments (2-1-6).alcium – Inadequate watering or rain and a lack of calcium can cause blossom end rot in strawberries.
  • Calcium also plays an important role in fruit development, in particular fruit firmness, which means plants hold up better during shipping. When extra calcium is necessary, LiberateCa™can be tank mixed with Pro-Germinator™, Sure-K™ and all micronutrients for maximum application and placement flexibility.
  • Micronutrients – Strawberries need small amounts of micronutrients for healthy growth. For example, boron is necessary for good fruit set and iron for the production of chlorophyll.Micro500™ is a proprietary formulation of zinc, manganese, iron, copper and boron that maximizes micronutrient efficiency (1.8%Zn, 1.2%Mn, 0.37%Fe, 0.25%Cu, 0.02B).

For full research results, see “Effect of fertilizer type on the yield of June-bearing type strawberries (NCRS 12-P102)” in the 2012 Research Report.

Soybean Production

Benefits of Using a Starter Fertilizer for Soybean Production


Starter fertilizer can help boost soybean production for better yields.

Earlier planting of soybeans can give growers a jump on production. This approach allows the plant more time to capture light and accrue carbon, nitrogen and other elements necessary for producing seed during reproductive phases. The result is that these soybeans will out-yield later plantings. For instance, Iowa State University researchers have found growers can gain three to four bushels an acre if planting starts the last week of April or the first week of May.

Growers should consider a number of factors when planting early, though. Soybeans don’t like to sit in cold, wet soils. In fact, they are more subject to damage from cold conditions than corn, so producers should specifically monitor soil conditions and the weather forecast for 48 hours after planting. If unfavorable weather is projected, growers should consider adjusting their planting date. The ideal soil temperature for germination and emergence is between 77° and 86° F, but soybeans will germinate at soil temperatures of 50° F.

“Yield data shows that soybeans can take a slight hit in stand without affecting yields – so the advantage of early planting can prevail,” says Dr. Jerry Wilhm, senior research manager with Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers. “Careful in-furrow application of phosphorus and potassium can help during these early conditions by encouraging root development. The roots will then grow nodules that fix nitrogen from the soil.” Nodules on healthy soybeans form following infection by the nodulating bacteria around the V2 stage.

Prescription Application Based on Trials

AgroLiquid research shows that row-applied fertilizer applications increased no-till soybean yields – almost 5 bu/A – over a no-fertilizer check (NCRS11-307). Researchers here used Pro-Germinator™ + Sure-K™ + Micro500™. Pro-Germinator™ contains a high quality, dual form of phosphate fertilizer with multi-forms of nitrogen, while Sure-K™ is a chloride- and hydroxide-free potassium fertilizer.

In permanent plot rotation trials, researchers compared liquid to conventional dry potash (0-0-62). A combination of Sure-K™ and Micro500™ yielded 1.5 to 4.5 more bu/A than two different rates of dry product (NCRS11-714).

AgroLiquid’s P and K Recommendations for Early Soybeans 

Apply 1 to 2 gallons/A Pro-Germinator™ + Sure-K™ plus (based on soil test K findings), along with 1 to 2 quarts/A Micro500™. “Root zone banding in 30-inch row beans can result in seedling injury at rates above 3 gal/A in light-textured soils,” cautions Wilhm. “The risk goes down in 15-inch rows, and there is little chance of seedling injury with soybean fertilizer programs in drilled soybeans.”

If there is a need for more than 3 gallons/A of fertilizer in 30-inch row beans, growers can apply the Pro-Germinator™ and Micro500™ at planting (3 gal/A max in light soils), then the balance of Sure-K™ as a foliar application.

Experts agree that soil testing is a key component. Iowa researchers recommend basing soybean fertilizer applications on soil test levels and estimates of nutrient removal by the crop. To help with those calculations, they note that a bushel of soybeans removes approximately 3.8 pounds of N, 0.8 pounds of P and 1.5 pounds of K each season.

Micronutrients at Planter Time

Micronutrient Replacement at Planter Time for Better Corn and Soybean Production

Planting time is the perfect opportunity to replace micronutrients in the soil.

With crop yields continually on the rise, nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are being used up in growers’ soils—but so are micronutrients. Planting time is the perfect opportunity to replenish soil nutrient supplies.

Micronutrient deficiencies can be difficult to recognize because they resemble other problems. For instance in corn, manganese deficiency produces yellowing, which can look like a sulfur deficiency or even be confused with nitrogen deficiency. Often tissue testing can determine the cause, but it is best to have a good soil test so any problems can be addressed ahead of seeing yellow leaves.

The most heavily used micronutrients by grass crops such as corn are zinc and boron. Zinc deficiency symptoms are often localized and result from specific soil conditions: high pH, free carbonates and eroded topsoil with subsoil exposed.

Manganese is important for soybeans because so many of the upper Midwest soils are short on it. Often in the summer, manganese shortages cause soybean fields to take on a yellow cast. (Note that while manganese deficiencies can cause problems, researchers have proven that recent yellow flashes appearing in some fields can be traced to a glyphosate breakdown product.

What to Use and How
Planting is usually the best time to apply micronutrients because it is easier to prevent a problem than correct one. If you see symptoms, the damage is already done and yield losses have already occured. Roots are the best avenue to feed a crop, and putting some nutrients in the root zone at planting can usually make up for shortages in the soil.

At Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer’s 710-acre North Central Research Station, experts conduct replicated trials with a variety of crops and nutrients. A strong performer is Micro500, which contains five main micros: zinc, manganese, iron, copper and boron. Numerous tests show that Micro500 increases corn yields from five to nearly 20 bu/A, depending on the situation. These nutrients are synergistic. Growers get better uptake and response from a micronutrient in Micro500 than if they apply an equal volume of a nutrient alone. In addition, having this combination available is helpful in pockets of a field where a grower might be unaware that a particular nutrient is lacking. Trials show that AgroLiquid micronutrients perform better than dry micros because applicators can place them in a root zone band (to the side and below the seed). Products also offer better results compared with other conventional EDTA-chelated micronutrients.

In corn, yields have shown the greatest increase with a combination of Pro-Germinator (a dual-form phosphate fertilizer with multi-form nitrogen), Sure-K (a chloride- and hydroxide-free potassium fertilizer) and Micro500. In one trial, this combination produced 213.8 bu/A (NCRS 11-715).

In soybeans, a program using the same three products generated a yield increase of 57.7 bu/A harvested. Research trials at the North Central Research Station have not only shown the benefits of using micronutrients on corn and soybeans, but other crops from asparagus to wheat also require balanced nutrition.  Research shows Micro-500 and the other MicroLink products are necessary for balanced nutrition and optimal yields.

The corn and soybean micronutrient studies are found in the 2011 Research Report, to see the most recent studies, refer to the 2012 Research Report.