Calcium is a key component in many crop nutrition programmes. Providing sufficient levels of calcium strengthens and stabilises cell walls, helping crops build natural resistance to pests and common disorders such as Internal Rust Spot in potatoes, Cavity Spot in carrots and Tip Burn in lettuce. In addition to cell wall structure, its role in root development and nutrient utilisation makes supplementation a vital tool in the management of crop health, quality and shelf-life.
There are two key things to remember when applying calcium to improve crop quality:
1. Restrictions to availability in the soil
There are many factors in soil chemistry that will obstruct the uptake of calcium through the roots, including soil pH, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) and microbial activity.
2. Lack of mobility in the plant
The biggest problem with applying calcium is its lack of mobility. It is the least mobile of all the key minerals and its translocation relies heavily on transpiration flow to draw it up from the roots. Availability therefore is further restricted in humid conditions when transpiration rates are reduced. Getting calcium moving through the plant to new tissue growth areas, is critical for effective treatment. By applying calcium as a foliar, its availability is not compromised by the soil chemistry and once in the plant, its mobility can be enhanced by careful formulation techniques.
Ilex have developed three different products using either natural biostimulants or phosphite technology to boost calcium mobility. Each formulation is carefully balanced with key micronutrients including Boron which is also essential for its absorption. The choice of product allows for efficient application according to crop and spray frequency.
Pro-Cal combines calcium with natural organic acids, sugars and surfactants to increase uptake and mobility. The addition of stabilised nitrogen provides a regulated supply to aid new growth. Pro-Cal is a low cost supplement suitable for use when it is practical to make regular applications and is applied at a rate of 5-10 litres per hectare depending on crop and growth stage. Calcium mobility can also be boosted with a timed application of multi-nutrient foliar phosphite PK MAXX+. Visit Pro-Cal product page for full applications rates and timings.
CaPITAL uses phosphite, the highly mobile form of phosphorus to aid the transportation and delivery of Calcium to maintain quality and improve crop storage characteristics. CaPITAL also provides calcium in combination with phosphorus in both the phosphate and phosphite forms giving an added boost to rooting, health and growth. The high-efficiency phosphite technology allows for reduced application rates of between 2-3 litres per hectare. In independent trials on white cabbage, CaPITAL treated samples showed a 4 times greater increase in tissue calcium, compared with the standard calcium treatment. Visit CaPITAL product page for full applications rates and timings.
AdvoCate is a highly concentrated calcium supplement using natural bioactive agents including seaweed and amino acids to provide exceptional calcium mobility. Its low application rates and concentrated formula make it ideal for crops with shorter growing cycles such as leafy salads, lettuce and herbs. It is applied at a rate of 2 litres per hectare. Visit AdvoCate product page for full applications rates and timings.
All Ilex calcium supplements are water soluble liquids with good tank mix compatibility.