Improved phosphate uptake observed in nutritional biostimulant trial

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Supporting plants with nutritional biostimulants during the peak phosphorus demand period has benefitted Russell McKenzie, who manages a 160-hectare farm alongside a consultancy business in Cambridgeshire.

In a recent trial, he compared Luxor, a product containing nutrients, humic and fulvic acid, and pidolic acid, with 200kg/ha of DAP and an untreated control on his winter wheat. He aimed to improve phosphate uptake with Luxor, despite his typical phosphate index of one, to demonstrate the potential for high yields.

The results proved positive, with Luxor and DAP showing an average response of 1.1 to 1.2 tons per hectare. When factoring in the cost of Luxor versus DAP, Luxor proved was shown to be significantly more cost-effective.

“Luxor provides phosphorus either through the soil or the foliage, with both forms complexed with humic and fulvic acid, ensuring the most accessible phosphorus source,” said Mr McKenzie. “When combined with its ideal partner, Calfite Extra, the most efficient and safest phosphite available, it stimulates plants to enhance root development and root exudation, significantly increasing phosphorus uptake efficiency,”

Luxor is a nutrient biostimulant applied at key growth stages and increases phosphorus delivery to the plant, according to John Haywood at Unium Bioscience.

“Luxor is a blend of nutrients, humic and fulvic acid in combination with L-PGA (pidolic acid) to enhance nitrogen use efficiency, increase photosynthesis, and carbon fixation. It can be applied close to the seed, in-furrow or as a foliar treatment,” Mr Haywood noted.

Agrovista agronomist Daniel Knight has observed increased nutrient uptake. “Applying Luxor where you can identify a requirement for it is not only cost-effective, but it can also provide an alternative to inorganic sources of P fertiliser, subsequently helping reduce some of the associated environmental impacts. The product supplies P to the plant in a more efficient form and it doesn’t just offer nutritional benefits, it offers biostimulants as well.

“I have used it on a range of crops including maize, OSR and potatoes, and I plan to use it on cereals this year where there is a P or rooting requirement, weather allowing. If not, I will aim to apply from the onset of spring growth where P demand increases.

For maize crops, Mr Knight has seen a marked impact on early crop growth, with this being most evident where conditions were more challenging or where phosphate availability is inhibited, such as low indices or periods of drought or cold soils.

“It’s important to have a plan and use the products as part of a holistic programme where a need is identified, but they can be used curatively if there is a problem in season.

“Ultimately, a farmer’s budget is not infinite, and these products are financially in-reach as part of the nutritional budget for a crop and most importantly deliver results and return on investment,” Mr Knight concluded.

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