The im­por­tance of Cal­cium

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Grower’s have long re­alised the im­por­tance of Cal­cium avail­abil­ity at rel­e­vant growth stages, to achieve the crop’s max­i­mum po­ten­tial by in­creas­ing the health of the plant and the qual­ity of the fruit. Cal­cium dense pro­duce is firmer and crunchier with im­proved stor­age qual­ity and shelf life.

Many plant dis­eases and phys­i­cal dis­or­ders are as­so­ci­ated with Cal­cium de­fi­ciency, which causes vis­i­ble ab­nor­mal­i­ties in grow­ing parts of plants and dieback of roots.

Roots, Shoots & Fruits spe­cialise in plant min­eral nu­tri­tion and bi­o­log­i­cal or­gan­isms, work­ing closely with NZ grow­ers to an­a­lyse their leaf tis­sue tests and pre­scribe plant nu­tri­tional pro­grams to im­prove crop health and pro­duc­tion.

Cal­cium may be lim­ited dur­ing a crit­i­cal growth phase, for a few rea­sons; stress­ful con­di­tions (drought and dry­ing winds), soil that con­tains an abun­dance of mag­ne­sium or potas­sium, ex­cess ni­tro­gen or plants that sim­ply grow too fast. And of course, maybe there sim­ply isn’t enough cal­cium in the soil. For th­ese rea­sons fo­liar ad­junc­tive cal­cium ap­pli­ca­tions are crit­i­cal in hor­ti­cul­ture.

Listed be­low are some com­mon dis­or­ders widely seen in cal­cium-de­fi­cient crops:

Fruit pit­ting in Ki­wifruit and blos­som-end rot of toma­toes and cap­sicum

Albeda break­down in citrus and bit­ter-pit in ap­ples

Hol­low Heart, known as ‘Brown­ing’ in pota­toes

Fruit split­ting and crack­ing – es­pe­cially af­ter rain­fall

Dieback of grow­ing shoots and roots and Ir­reg­u­lar crop­ping

Poor post-har­vest ‘keep­ing qual­ity’ of fruit, pri­mar­ily the fruit skin qual­ity

Plants sus­cep­ti­ble to pests and dis­ease due to weaker cells from a lack of cal­cium.

Tak­ing plant tis­sue sam­ples for Bal­anced Anal­y­sis early in the sea­son, three weeks pre-flower for most crops is es­sen­tial be­fore be­gin­ning any fo­liar fer­tiliser pro­gram. This al­lows grow­ers to as­sess the cur­rent lev­els of el­e­ments and the nu­tri­ent re­quire­ments of the crop en­sur­ing cor­rect al­lo­ca­tion of funds for a re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Cal­cium is usu­ally ap­plied af­ter fruit set be­cause it will as­sist in the cell divi­sion process and re­in­force the fruit cell mem­brane – en­cour­ag­ing firm, thick celled fruit.

Com­pre­hen­sive tri­als (on Ap­ples, Grapes, Berry crops, Stone­fruit, Ki­wifruit etc) have been con­ducted in NZ, com­pare the use of var­i­ous Cal­cium fer­tiliser treat­ments and the im­pact they have on the fruit and the ROI for the grow­ers. View a li­brary of re­search papers at https://www.rd2. co.nz/tri­als/

ARE ALL CAL­CIUM PROD­UCTS EQUALLY EF­FEC­TIVE?

Biomin Cal­cium has come out favourably when com­pared to generic cal­cium ap­pli­ca­tions and the rea­son is clear. Cal­cium is nat­u­rally an im­mo­bile el­e­ment. Plants find it hard to ab­sorb with­out a lot of work, and then find it hard to move through­out the plant's sys­tem.

Biomin Cal­cium is highly sol­u­ble and bio-avail­able, due to the mol­e­cules be­ing ‘chelated’ with Glycine, which is the small­est amino acid which plants them­selves are made of. Plants ab­sorb the Glycine chelated mol­e­cules read­ily send­ing them to ar­eas of need. In Ki­wifruit tri­als, fruit treated with Biomin Cal­cium had a 15% in­crease in resid­ual Cal­cium lev­els, show­ing that Glycine chelated Cal­cium is highly sys­temic as well as mo­bile through the fruit cu­ti­cle, a char­ac­ter­is­tic not present in other cal­cium for­mu­la­tions in the mar­ket­place.

The ad­van­tages are numer­ous; lower ap­pli­ca­tion rates of the fer­tiliser is needed; Biomin cal­cium is non-phy­to­toxic whilst chlo­ride ap­pli­ca­tions are–and it is to­tally ab­sorbed by plants within a few hours of ap­pli­ca­tion, cre­at­ing a great rain win­dow. Biomin fer­tiliser is or­gan­i­cally cer­ti­fied through Biogro, mean­ing safe ap­pli­ca­tions that are ben­e­fi­cial for the en­vi­ron­ment and the micro­organ­isms present in our soils.

Fo­liar spray Biomin Cal­cium dur­ing cell divi­sion or at times of plant growth and no­tice less dis­ease, juicier, brighter and more colour­ful fruit that is crunchier and splits less af­ter rain­fall.

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