Following initial successful tests of Prayon’s Hortipray® micronutri Fe on cucumbers, new experiments carried out on tomatoes and strawberries at the Hoogstraten Research Centre (Belgium) have confirmed the product efficiency in enhancing iron uptake by the plant in substrate grown crops. This new fertiliser is a combination of iron and specialty phosphate developed and patented by Prayon, a global leader in phosphate chemistry. It is a clear alternative to chelates in horticulture.
In 2013, tests were carried out on substrate-grown tomatoes as well as on summer crops of strawberries. Both sets of tests showed that plants could grow perfectly well without chelates. “When combined in standard nutrient solutions, iron is very well absorbed by the plant”, explains Kurt Verhelst, Prayon Business Development Manager. “No chlorosis was observed during the entire growing period. The first tests conducted on cucumbers at Wageningen University (Netherlands) showed less chlorosis with our product compared to chelates in substrate grown crops. ”
Tipburn was checked during the initial tests in Wageningen. Almost no tipburn was observed with Hortipray® micronutri Fe, as opposed to chelates. “It is clear that Hortipray® micronutri Fe enables iron to be easily absorbed without interfering with other elements”, says Kurt Verhelst. “This is another advantage of the product compared to chelates, which can block other elements. These elements
remain in solution but are no longer absorbable by the plant.”
In addition to the tests carried out in the Netherlands, researchers have made an important discovery with regard to reversibility. When the pH increases (e.g. above 7) and the iron becomes unavailable, Hortipray® micronutri Fe makes iron available again to the plant once the pH is corrected.
During UV disinfection, Prayon’s new product also offers better transmission of the UV light, thus ensuring more efficient disinfection. UV light has little effect on Hortipray® micronutri Fe and does not break it down. In addition, no residue remains when Hortipray® micronutri Fe does break down (due to non-UV causes) since the iron phosphate fertiliser contains only phosphorus, potassium and iron, which is fully absorbed by the plant.
“Hortipray® micronutri Fe has clearly demonstrated its potential as an alternative to chelates”, says Kurt Verhelst. “Thanks to its expanded functionality, non-fertiliser components are no longer required. Advantages are significant for growers, who now benefit from guaranteed iron uptake – even in the presence of fluctuating pH levels – and less chlorosis.”
Hortipray® micronutri Fe is commercially available in 10 kg pails.