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 The Practice of Integrated Fertisiler Management
Carol Phillips (CP) : Hooshang, I’d like to talk about the importance of RLF’s Integrated Fertiliser Management Program, and I wonder if you could explain a little of the science behind the program of IFM.
Dr Hooshang Nassery (HN) : Yes. Well, Integrated Fertiliser hasn’t really been practised in the sense that I’m going to talk about, in agriculture. As I said, the reason primarily goes back to the fact of the significance of seed treatment – seed priming. And then foliar used in the new-fashioned (way) if you like, or new formulation, has been practically something very new.
|CP :||Okay. So it’s a modern program, a modern practice?|
|HN :||Absolutely yes. So even if you go to the farming practices today, whether in horticulture or broadacre, you wouldn’t find so many that fully apply this Integrated Fertiliser practice because primarily of that history, of if you like, ignorance of the field. And therefore, in order to expand on that, very briefly, I must say, that we have a lot of evidence from seed priming with a product like BSN – which has got 10 nutrients in it, essential nutrients – that we get increases in yield consistently of around 5% to 15%. And the reason that is, a large span of increase or scoping that increase, is the fact that different seeds, and different soils will influence the degree of response. Then we go back to the foliar, and say, if somebody for example is doing the farming – and doesn’t do any seed treatment and no foliar is in the program – then you are only using 1 lever of the 3 levers that are available to you. So, one means of the pathways, which is the root from the soil. So, then you will be tackling problems like (nutrient) availability in the soil, when to apply these fertilisers, how much is needed to apply every fertiliser nutrient. And as I said, you (would have) easily passed that optimum root growth cycle by putting on too much (granular fertiliser) or you create interaction with other nutrients. And therefore, in modern agriculture it is a must that you employ the 3 pathways in order to not only get more yield, but also to economise your fertiliser input and not put in too much, where not only the benefit is in there, but also adverse-effect results from the fertiliser.|
|CP :||So, you talk about 3 pathways. So can I just be clear, that’s the seed, the soil and the leaf?|
|HN :||Yes. We call it the Seed, and the Root, and the Leaf. So these are the 3 pathways that nutrients come into the (plant’s) system. Seed has a lot of significance, as we said before, because of the role of phosphorus and trace elements that are variable and often very limiting, and therefore, it sets the higher yield potential. Soil (fertiliser) is very important, because if we do too much, we limit root growth. If we do too little, it may actually suffer from yield. So while soil is important, but often we find that the farmers go too heavy in the soil. So, to get the best response we reduce the soil (fertiliser), and then we apply it to the leaf. And interestingly, in evolution of crops, all crops started taking nutrients first from the leaf – not from the root – because they didn’t have any root.|
|CP :||Is that right?|
|HN :||That’s right. They developed in oceans, and in water, and they were taking nutrients through a very permeable cuticle, or waxy layer of the leaf. And roots weren’t there!|
|CP :||So, the RLF program really goes back to very first principles, very first science principles?|
|HN :||Absolutely yes. In a lot of our talks and lectures actually in the science, and in the university, we stress this fact – that the first pathway was through the leaf in all the plants. And yet in agriculture we are forgetting the first pathway.|
|CP :||So coming back to the RLF program that it has developed and asks farmers to embrace or to try – seed priming, Ultra Foliar spraying through the leaf, and the enhanced root growth of the plant in the soil. Those three things, if they’re balanced and optimum, you get better crop returns?|
|HN :||Absolutely yes. Through the seed, and through the leaf. Through the seed is easy – and not very costly – and you can do it well ahead of the season and store your dry, and store your primed seed. Through the leaf is during the season, and if you want to get full benefit through the leaf you really need to limit what you put through the soil in excess. And often we find, that that the cutting back of fertiliser through the soil will allow better root growth. In other words, we say that Integrated Fertiliser (Management practice), which is the effect of seed priming and foliar on root, and root growth is not then counter-acted by too much fertiliser in the soil, is not prohibited by too much granular fertiliser in the soil. There is a lot of evidence of that in the literature. So we hope that we can bring more examples, and get that message across.|
|CP :||Okay. Thank you, Hooshang.|
|HN :||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.
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.
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