This spring, Soiltech introduced its new fertiliser Optima Sugar+, the first foliar fertiliser in Europe specially developed for sugar beet cultivation. In two previous articles, we have already informed you about the product properties and the trial results in sugar beet cultivation. Thanks to the positive experiences of using Optima Sugar+ on sugar beet, we have started looking into whether Optima Sugar+ offers added value with other crops. So, we are happy to let you know, in this article, about the recent results obtained in trials with potato, broccoli and carrot crops.
Experiences with carrots
In 2020, the trial farm ‘De Rusthoeve’ (at Colijnsplaat, in the Netherlands) looked into the impact of Optima Sugar+ in carrot cultivation for Soiltech. During cultivation, Optima Sugar+ was applied 5 x at 3 l/ha.
The application of Optima Sugar+ resulted in a net surplus-yield of +12 % compared to the control plot (Standard Practice but without Optima Sugar+; see Figure 1). This surplus yield was not only the result of a higher gross profit, but also a significantly lower tare weight compared to the Standard Practice crop. In this trial, the higher production and the lower proportion of growth deviations was also due to better leaf quality and improved plant vitality.
Figure 1: Results of the carrot crop trial with Optima Sugar+, performed by trial farm ‘de Rusthoeve’.
Experiences with potatoes
SPNA (Kollumerwaard, in the Netherlands) used Optima Sugar+ 3x in a seed potato trial in 2020, with application of 3 l/ha during the lead development of the variety Innovator (see Figure 1). For reference, there was a Standard Practice trial adjacent to the Optima Sugar+ treated plot. So, all the plots also had basic soil fertilisation.
The treatment with Optima Sugar+ resulted in an average total yield increase of 8.9%. This yield increase was mainly due to larger sizes (45+). In addition to a higher total yield, there were also an increased number of tubers harvested. Among the sizes from 35 to 55, this yield increase was +4.4% (results not shown here). So it seems highly probable that Optima Sugar+ has also led to increased yield and a more vital plant here too, which made the tubers grow to size earlier, and there was less tuber loss.
Figure 2: Results SPNA trial 2020 using Optima Sugar+ in seed potatoes (CV Innovator).
Figure 3: Photo trialfield SPNA 2020
Experiences with broccoli
In 2020, Vertify (formerly Proeftuin Zwaagdijk, in the Netherlands), working on behalf of several growers from the Andijk region in the Netherlands, looked into the added value produced by using various foliar fertilisers in combination with fungal control. It is well known that a foliar fertiliser can make a positive contribution to the vitality of the crop, because a crop with deficiencies becomes more susceptible to diseases and pests.
In addition to untreated (no crop protection), a comparison has been made between a standard fungicide scheme + Optima Sugar+, and the standard fungicide scheme + an alternative fertiliser. Both fertilisers were applied 3 x at 4 l/ha.
The results (see figure 5) show clearly the added value that using Optima Sugar+ can bring to the crop. Toward the end of the crop, the crop condition was significantly better compared with the reference plots. There was also less Alternaria and Pseudomonas degradation observed in the crop through the addition of Optima Sugar+ to the regular fungicide programme. A determination of yield was not part of this trial.
The fact that Optima Sugar+ has a beneficial effect on the crop condition is not only explained by the additional application of essential nutrients, because, as we informed you in a previous [crop guide article] , Soiltech formulates its fertilisers in such a way that they do not have any adverse effect on fungicides and insecticides, e.g. when used in a tank mix.
Figure 4: Results of Vertify trial 2020 using Optima Sugar+ on broccoli.
Figure 5: Results of Vertify trial 2020 in a table using Optima Sugar+ on broccoli.
In a previous article we already informed you about the effects of Optima Sugar+ in sugar beet production. On average, a sugar yield increase of 8.5 % was achieved here compared to the control crop. But we also repeatedly see added value from using Optima Sugar+ in cultivation of potatoes, broccoli and carrots.