There is a growing interest in using biological products, bio-stimulants and softer chemistries to boost the soil quality in horticultural crops. In this article, Vegetables Australia explores a couple of biology-focused products that have been trialled together with positive results on crops.

The Holy Grail for horticultural growers is effectively using the power of nature to leverage paid inputs for their crop. Traditionally, fertiliser programs often have been applied with no consideration for the billions of living organisms in the soil that can be beneficial to soil health and plant growth. More efficient use of fertiliser and water through harnessing the power of nature is now a reality.

There is a developing wave of interest among growers in biological products, bio-stimulants and softer chemistries designed to improve soil and plant health.

The people at Omnia Specialities have a deep interest in soil health, producing a range of organic plant nutrition products, biologicals and supplying traditional foliar and water-soluble fertilisers.

“We are committed to sharing with growers what we know about biologicals and how to get the best results from them,” Omnia Sales and Marketing Manager Darren Thomas said.

Omnia produces two products – Rhizovator and Bacstim – that use biology to efficiently leverage soil nutrients and water.

“Our trials have demonstrated a synergistic effect when the two products are applied together, and we have been building a library of trial results to give growers confidence to apply these products this spring,” Mr Thomas said.

“Bacstim 100 contains five different strains of Bacillus sp. Bacteria, which provide improved nutrient mineralisation and uptake; production of phytohormones encouraging root growth; increased leaf chlorophyll levels; and increased crop biomass and yield. Healthy plants are also naturally more resistant to disease.”

Potato yield increase from Rhizovator and Bacstim application. Average of six trials in New South Wales and South Australia.

Winning combination

Rhizovator is the ideal tank mix partner for Bacstim products, as it has been formulated to feed the microbial life in the soil and encourage biological diversity. It feeds the native micro-organisms as well as the introduced bacillus species from Bacstim. Beneficial fungi spread through the soil and bring water and nutrients to the plant that might otherwise have not been available.

“Improving the biological diversity may make the soil environment naturally unfavourable for disease pathogens. This may lead to reduction in disease infection and increased water and nutrient uptake, delivering healthier plants with increased resilience to disease delivering improved crop yield potential,” Mr Thomas said.

Both products can be applied to a range of perennial or annual horticultural crops. Applications are made just prior to major root growth periods. In annual vegetables, this means at least two applications at 2-6 weeks after planting. With tree or vine crops, it will be two applications in early and mid-spring.

Find out more

Please visit the Omnia website or contact your nearest Omnia Specialist agronomist.