Video No. 10 | Modern Farming Fertiliser Practice

What Science Says About


About this Series

An engaging series of 11 videos that feature Dr Hooshang Nassery and Carol Phillips in a conversational style presentation about the science that underpins RLF product and practice.

It has been called ON SOLID GROUND for good reason, because the science of plant physiology provides the indisputable basis upon which all RLF products are developed.

This series will bring a relaxed and simple understanding for farmers and growers everywhere about the science that underpins the RLF brand, and the expertise that goes into every specialised crop nutrition product that RLF manufactures.

Carol Phillips talks with Dr Hooshang Nassery about Modern Farming
Fertiliser Practice

Carol Phillips (CP) : Hooshang, RLF has had a mantra for many years now – one of modern farming practice, plus innovation. Now, over the years, we’ve developed some innovative technologies, and some innovative products. How do you think we can get that message across to the farmers? What would your advice be?

Dr Hooshang Nassery (HN) : I would think that a lot of farmers are interested to find out what benefits are there in, for example, foliar and seed treatment. But due to possibly lack of depth of knowledge into Integrated Fertiliser Management (IFM) benefits, they might be taking everyone of these treatments along with their normal practice, and then look for that very good response that they are after. If you, for example, have your normal fertiliser input into the soil, and then have a seed treatment, you may, or may not, get full benefit from that seed treatment. Or depending where your seed comes from, different levels of nutrients in the seed vary, and we know that the response depends also on your seed response.

CP : Because normally that seed would come from last year’s harvest?
HN : Yes. And it can also come in from conditions that reduce the level of nutrients from the seed, for example dry conditions, or maybe harder harvest.
CP : So it sounds like you’re saying that we really need to understand the plant science. What’s behind why the technologies have been developed?
HN : That’s right. Although it’s not easy even for the scientist to integrate the whole science around soil, and nutrition, and seed, and foliar – but at least we have key controlling mechanisms there. One of them is that, if we want to get full benefit from foliar and seed treatment, we have to watch what we do with the soil. We can’t take them independently, and that’s where the true meaning of integration (Integrated Fertiliser Management) is.
CP : So it’s really an important message, isn’t it?
HN : That’s right. We do not expect the farmer to be able to have a very accurate one trial, or for that matter even the scientist, to prove the benefit. What we need to understand, is to understand these principles, how they work, and then put them together in an Integrated Fertiliser (Management program) and then see the result. And even then, to continue with it in different soil conditions, different yields, different paddocks to convince (them)selves. But one thing we shouldn’t forget, is that if the principles are considered – in other words if we know that only 10% of seed phosphorus is available, and only 10% of soil phosphorus is available, then that’s a very good alarming signal to say “what can I do to increase that availability”? Then answer it with “BSN will increase that available phosphorus by 300%, and the reason is that we can calculate how much phosphorus we get from 5-litres of BSN, which will be around half of kilogram”. Then one tonne of seed wouldn’t have anything more than half a kilogram of seed of phosphorus – so you’ll see that is total phosphorus 10% of it is only available. But when you’re applying BSN you’re multiplying the seed available phosphorus by 2 or 3 factors, or by 200% or 300%. And the same manner if you’re considering soil. In the best availability granular fertiliser, phosphorus has got 10% availability. If I applied fertiliser to the leaf my availability, or my efficiency, or my absorption, is around 90%.
CP : Wow, that’s a big difference.
HN : So that’s a big difference, and these principles are undeniable. The farmer needs to know this, believe this regardless of the product, and then go after those products that has had similar to RLF, or I can hardly find, but have had 20 years of trials behind them – 25 years of trials with an average increase yield of 10% to 15%, sometimes 20%.
CP : So do you say this is the future for crop nutrition, these modern technologies?
HN : This is a very important aspect that has been neglected in broadacre crop for years. In horticulture the significance of it is less, because we have a condition in which we put too much fertiliser to the soil because we have a small piece of land. We have irrigation available so the scenario, it is a bit different. But if you go to broadacre – if you go to rice, maize, wheat – and most of it is grown in non-irrigated conditions, then this is really the point that has been missed. And I think you will find in the current fertiliser industry, that a lot of the big companies are coming after seed treatment. This is almost 25 years after RLF started a broad-spectrum seed priming (BSN). They’re now talking about seed priming in which they mix pesticides with seed nutrients, so if it wasn’t new avenue to get higher yield, all these multi-billion companies worldwide, big corporates, wouldn’t really take this approach. But that’s in my opinion, itself, a very good proof that Integrated Fertiliser (Management) is coming more and more in the market.
CP : Into normal practice, rather than new practice.
HN : That’s right.
CP : Thank you.
About Dr Hooshang

Hooshang is RLF's Plant Physiologist and he heads the company's Research, Development and Technical team. He brings the knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry with over 40 years of experience and he has played a central role in a number of new product developments, including the world-leading and innovative seed nutrition technology BSN. Contact Hooshang.

About Carol

Carol is RLF's Communications, Media and Policy consultant. She is the main author of information, marketing and website publications and part of her role is to plan targeted marketing and information strategies and resources for both customers and the wider RLF team. Contact Carol.

RLF Product Categories

RLF has 11 key product categories.

They all include specially developed and technically advanced crop nutrition products for all crop types, deficiencies and conditions.

The links at the following categories identify the specific, high-technology products available in each of the product categories.

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