This spring, Soiltech is launching a new foliar fertiliser: Optima Sugar+. Although Optima Sugar+ has been developed and optimised for sugar beet crops, it is also suitable for other crops. With this, and several future, field guide articles, we want to inform you about the background, experiences and trial results that we have at our disposal for Optima Sugar+.
Optima Sugar + is a highly concentrated foliar fertiliser that, in addition to 14 calcium (Ca), also contains 8% nitrogen (N), 1.5% manganese (Mn), 1% magnesium (Mg), and trace elements. The nutrients are complexed with an organic carrier, allowing for the product to be combined in the tank mix with crop protection agents. It is also very gentle on the crop and achieves a very efficient uptake.
The development of Optima Sugar+ started a few years ago when research showed that the nutrients calcium, manganese and magnesium in particular significantly contributed to the sugar content of beets. During the vegetative growth stage, calcium is indispensable for the production of strong cell walls and, therefore, vital foliage. Nitrogen, manganese and magnesium play an essential role in the generation and functioning of leaf green in the crop, and as a result support effective photosynthesis. In other words, the balanced composition of calcium, nitrogen, manganese and magnesium supports the crop in optimal sugar production.
The '+' in Optima Sugar+ stands for the addition of trace elements as a supplement to the other nutrients. Our trial results show that only a tiny amount of trace elements is needed and that this is absorbed very efficiently when applied in a formulated form through the leaf rather than as salt. As a result, a small amount results in better absorption.
Ease of use
In addition to the effectiveness of this foliar fertiliser, ease of use was paramount in the development of Optima Sugar+. Soiltech's formulation technology has resulted in a highly concentrated foliar fertiliser with an impressive specific mass of 1.6 kg/l, with no product settling or crystallisation in the can. Because Optima Sugar+ is easy to pour, it is available in 17.5 litre cans, but also in IBCs of 300 and 1,000 litres.
Optima Sugar+ pours easily and dissolves quickly and completely when stirred in the tank. In other words, settling in the tank or clogging of filters due to small particles does not occur, thanks to complete solubility.
During development, we worked on the basis that Optima Sugar+ will be used as a tank-mix partner combined with a herbicide, insecticide and/or fungicide application. Soiltech had these tank-mix combinations tested at various research institutions in 2020. All the trials show that the tank-mix combination of a crop protection agent with Optima Sugar+ does not cause any additional risk of combustion and does not negatively affect the effectiveness of the other agents. Several growers have already had the opportunity to use Optima Sugar+ on a practical scale in 2020. The growers were positive about the product's applicability and effectiveness. None of the growers experienced any problems while using the product.
The dosage of Optima Sugar+ in sugar beet cultivation is 2x 4 l/ha or 3x 3 l/ha during the crop's vegetative growth stage.