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Plant Syence Expanding Fertiliser Use

15 September 2011

IRELAND - A change in the period for the application of N and P fertilisers - following the revised Statutory Instrument (SI) enacting the Nitrates Directive - has got to be good news to cereal farmers in Ireland.

Up until now use of all chemical fertilisers was prohibited from 15 September until January. But now, there is no time constraint, provided the application rate is less than 1kg per hectare of available nitrogen or phosphorus.

Plant Syence has been instrumental in steering this change by providing a large dossier to support the use of its novel technology. This has demonstrated a clear improvement in the ability of plants to scavenge more nutrients from the soil than are applied therefore increasing the fertiliser efficiency and reducing potential loss in the environment.

Plant Syence has a range of liquid foliar products based on patented technology from the University of California under the Nutri-Phite label. They have also undertaken UK research and development of a novel seed treatment range. Both the foliar and seed treatment products have been specifically designed to increase fertiliser efficiency. They use much lower doses than conventional fertilisers and can now be used after the 15 September in Ireland, in part due to their environmental profile.

"This is great news and a real benefit to farmers as they can now legally use Nutri-Phite based products on crops in the autumn," explains Mr Joe Hyland, managing director, Novokem Ltd. "This helps to put the crop in a far better condition to overwinter, and with subsequent applications in the spring results have shown beneficial yield increases. In addition a Nutri-Phite programme will lead to a reduction in any environmental impact from leaching, whilst growers can maximise their yield and crop quality."

Trials, undertaken at University College, Dublin by Dr Tom McCabe have confirmed the yield benefits of applying Nutri-Phite over the last two years. As Mr John Haywood, Technical Director, Plant Syence explains. "A two-spray programme made to wheat generated good yield responses:

  • untreated wheat gave 8.26 tonnes per hectare
  • a single application gave 8.70 tonnes per hectare
  • a two spray programme gave 8.84 tonnes per hectare

Further trials are now being undertaken to evaluate the benefits of applying at the later ear emergence stage," he said.

Phosphorus is essential to drive energy transfers within the plant and improve root development, plant growth and yield. Typically phosphorus is needed at critical stages of the crop's physiological growth. However, the major issue is not the quantity in the soil but rather the availability of phosphorus in the soil to the plant. Phosphorus availability depends on soil conditions; high pH, high calcareous soils will lock up the phosphorus making it unavailable. Environmental conditions are also influential e.g. low temperature, low organic matter, dry soils and compact waterlogged soils will all reduce availability.

Nutri-Phite is unique in providing a very available form of phosphorus that will move through the leaf's surface. Increased root mass and activity, stimulated by applying Nutri-Phite, enables the plant to scavenge a broad range of nutrients from the soil reserves or applied fertiliser, so maximising its efficiency.

As the first 30 days in any crop's life is the most critical, a seed treatment followed by a Nutri-Phite based programme will deliver the optimum results. Applications to cereal crops should be at a rate of 0.50 litres per hectare from GS12-16, with subsequent applications at stem extension and ear emergence. The organically complex formulation ensures crop safety and is compatible with most agrochemicals for tank mixing.

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