AgroLiquid’s goal is to prosper the farmer while safeguarding the environment. Learn how they are different from any other fertilizer company in the industry today as experts discuss details about their line of high-performance fertilizers formulated with scientifically based recommendations to help growers achieve the best possible production yields while employing sustainable agricultural practices.
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.
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.
“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
Senior Research Manager, Dr. Jerry Wilhm discusses how and why the lower applied rates of AgroLiquid nutrients are sustainable and more efficient in feeding the plant the nutrients it needs to thrive. In this short video, Dr. Wilhm further demonstrates this through a four-year sustainability study from the North Central Research Station (NCRS).
In grapes, a combination of variety, management, and training system dictates how much quality fruit the plant can produce. One of the best options is using fertilizer applied in the spring that can be easily taken up by the vine. Over the last four years, we have been looking at what AgroLiquid products can do on grapes. All fertilizer is soil applied in the spring underneath the vines.
Conventional Program: 12 gallons of 28%UAN + 12.9 gallons of 10-34-0 + 100 lbs. of sulfate of potash.
The Effect of Liquid and Conventional Fertigation Treatments on Commercial Tomato Production
Researchers compare liquid and conventional fertigation treatments for impact on yields of ‘Roma’ and ‘Beefsteak’ tomatoes.
Customized products work better for consumers because they meet their specific needs. Tomato nutrition is no different. Customized fertility programs are effective because they meet the specific nutrient requirements of the tomato crop. Fertigation is a good way to implement a customized nutrition program for commercial tomato production, especially when liquid fertilizers are used.
Many tomato growers use drip systems to provide plant nutrition through irrigation water, a process known as fertigation. Drip systems can accommodate both water-soluble granules and liquid fertilizers, but there are some definite advantages to using liquid over water-soluble granular formations. This article will discuss three of them.
According to a study performed by AgroLiquid, fertigation treatments using liquid fertilizer have a greater impact on tomato yields than conventional treatments. For the experiment, researchers compared the effects of liquid and conventional fertigation treatments on the yield of fresh market ‘Beefsteak’ and ‘Roma’ type tomatoes.
Materials and Methods
Soil preparation included banding liquid fertilizer down the center of the plots or broadcasting dry fertilizer into the area. A swath of plastic mulch covered the center 2 ft. of each 5 ft. wide plot.
Growers doused the soil around each transplant with approximately 4.2 oz. of transplant solution (~300 GPA) which contained the fertilizers described in Table MT1. The rest only had water. For early season disease and insect management, Ridomil and Admire were added to the transplant water.
Drip applications started at early bloom and continued until mid-September. Eight weekly treatments occurred during the season. Upon maturity, ripe fruits were counted and weighed to determine yields. Spring rains delayed planting and harvesting, so a majority of the yields for all treatments occurred during the final portion of the season. Six harvests took place throughout the season; the initial harvest occurred on Aug. 13 and the last on Oct. 18.
When 100% of the fertilizer was applied pre-plant, the AgroLiquid base program (Trt. #2, See Figure MT1) surpassed the conventional program (Trt. #1) for the yield of ‘Beefsteak’ and ‘Roma’ type tomatoes.
During the growing season, drip applications (Trt. #4-#6) supplied 40% of total nitrogen, and in some cases (Trt. #5 and #6), nearly half of the potassium. These changes in the application timing improved tomato yields without using any additional fertilizer when compared to the Agro-Liquid base program (Trt. #1). Table MT1 shows these changes in application timing and volumes.
Kalibrate, listed here as K-10 (Trt. #3 and #6), matched the performance of Sure-K® (Trt. #2 and #5) when it was used in a similar manner. Kalibrate has some winter storage advantages over Sure-K®.
Flexibility and Uniformity
Fertigation allows the grower to apply smaller applications on a frequent basis with greater uniformity. Conventional fertilizer programs can be hit or miss because they usually consist of two or three applications per season. Depending on a plant’s stage of development, it may receive too much or too little fertilizer, or it may not be able to utilize the nutrients at all.
Fertigation improves nutrient uptake because it targets the active root zone; plants have easy access to the nutrients they need. Application rates can also coincide with a crop’s nutrient needs at different growth stages. For instance, growers can start with smaller doses at planting, increase the dose during the vegetative stage, and then decrease the dose as the crop nears the fruiting stage and maintain crop health at the end of a plant’s lifecycle.
To observe the comparison between a conventional dry program and a complete AgroLiquid program. Long term averages are a great way to see how fertilizer programs affect yields. By averaging yield results over several years it takes into account different soil types that the experiments were conducted on and the different weather conditions that exist from year to year. Each year all Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer programs placed phosphorus, potassium and micro nutrients in a 2×2 band with the planter. High NRG-N was used as the nitrogen source and applied as a surface broadcast after planting. Conventional programs placed phosphorus as DAP (dry spread) or 10-34-0 (2×2) and potassium as potash along with micro nutrients as a broadcast spread and tilled into the soil ahead of planting. Urea (applied the same as other dry materials) or 28% UAN (broadcast after planting) was used as the nitrogen source. All programs matched fertility needs of the test area for that particular year. The North Central Research Station uses a Gandy Orbit Air spreader to accurately spread dry materials across the entire 15’ plot width. (Note: Prior to 2007 the above planter 2×2 applications were applied 1 inch to the side of the seed and at an even depth.)
• Over 9 years, there has been an average 1 Ton/A yield advantage using Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers compared to a conventional fertilizer program.
• AgroLiquid nutrients provide all of the necessary nutrition needed for a great sugarbeet crop.
To evaluate the timing of High NRG-N topdress applications on soft red winter wheat yields. A commonly asked question is will High NRG-N perform better if it is applied earlier than normal in a winter wheat topdress method of application? This question arises because of the unique N-release characteristics of High NRG-N. By using the normal application date of the first of April, there are still 90 days until the end of June to make use of all available nitrogen. This test was conducted to see if that timing of early April would meet the nitrogen needs of the winter wheat and also to acquire information if the early topdress timing would enhance yield.
•The best time to topdress winter wheat is at dormancy break around early April in Michigan. This timing proved a significant yield advantage over an early or late application.
• A delay in topdress application significantly lowered the yield below the early and normal application timing.
• An early High NRG-N application did not prove to benefit wheat yield.
To compare nutrient programs when used in combination with and without manure applications. The North Central Research Station has applied diary manure to areas of this particular field for 16 straight years. The crop for the previous 15 years has been continuous corn. The experiment is divided into 4 sections, 2 sections have no manure applied, 1 section receives a 20 ton/A application in the fall and the fourth section receives an application in the fall and spring for a 40 ton/A total. Fall applications are chisel plowed into the soil, while spring applications are applied to spring tilled soil and then tilled with a soil finisher for soil incorporation. Soil samples were taken again last fall to continually observe the changes in soil tests. This year soybeans were planted on half of the treatment areas to observe manure applications and soil test nutrient levels on this crop. Nutrients were applied according to soil test recommendations with the no manure section needing the higher rates of nutrients.
• Both manure application timings had a significant yield advantage over no manure.
• Phosphorus applications are not needed for soybeans with manure applications.
• Maintain accurate soil tests and follow recommendations for supplemental nutrients.
• Manure applications reduce the need for additional nutrients.
To compare in-furrow rates of Pro-Germinator in Corn. Pro-Germinator is a highly effective nutrient product delivering both ortho and poly forms of phosphorus, giving plants an early and steady availability. An in-furrow band application provides nutrients where they are needed most. Pro-Germinator is balanced with nitrogen, potassium and micro nutrients for excellent performance. This experiment tested increasing rates of Pro-Germinator to see its results on corn yield. A no planter fertilizer treatment was used for comparison. Rates of 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 gpa were used as treatments along with Micro 500 at a rate of 2 qt/A in each treatment. With the high soil test value of 24 ppm of P1, the recommendation for this would be 2.5 gpa in-furrow for a yield goal of 175 bu/A. Yield results appear in the chart below.
• Growing conditions were very dry into the growing season as such, we did not reach our yield goal. But there was an increase in yield as the rate of Pro-Germinator was increased.
• All three rates of Pro-Germinator had a significant yield advantage over the no planter fertilizer treatment.
• Data confirms, along with past research, that even in higher phosphorus soils, there is a benefit of 3-4 gpa of Pro-Germinator planter applied.
• It is likely that the Pro-Germinator increased root volume that enabled better yield in the dry growing conditions.