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Counter spring stresses on crops

Counter spring stresses on crops

Counter spring stresses on crops

Each spring growers are faced with similar weather-related issues including hail damage, waterlogged soils and cold temperatures. These weather factors can cause slow vegetative development, slow shoot extension and poor cell division, creating a negative impact on yield and quality as well as the final economic return.

Megafol is a targeted abiotic stress product from Valagro and is a proven tool for stress prevention and recovery in a range of crops such as kiwifruit, wine grapes, apples, avocado and several vegetable crops.

North Island Valagro Specialist Michael Hope says Megafol has become an important part of crop protection programmes around the country.

Michael explains: “Valagro has genomic evidence of Megafol’s ability to stimulate specific stress-related plant genes to respond to wounding, cold, heat, drought and root anoxia (wet feet).”

Valagro uses phenomic technology analysis to analyse the plant’s response to a stress event. Plants grown in controlled environments are exposed to specific environmental stresses, such as reduction in temperature before the detailed analysis of plant biomass, root growth and final yield of the untreated and Megafol-treated plants. By using a scientifically controlled environment, we can be sure that the stress being analysed is specific to one stress event.

Valagro collaborates with Davis University in California, University of Florida and the University of North Carolina and many other research institutes in Europe to undertake replicated research trials. Several published scientific papers are now available looking at Megafol’s effect on prunus varieties, capsicum, corn and tomatoes.

“The genomic and phenomic evidence is enough to know how the crop will respond in a real-world environment. However, Valagro has conducted hundreds of field trials on all Valagro products with more than 300 official trials with Megafol in New Zealand and around the world. The average yield increase from Megafol application in these trials is 15%,” Michael adds.

Other field trial results include:

  • Wine grapes for heat/drought stress. Result: reduced canopy temperature by 15% (2018-19 Fruitfed Supplies trial, Blenheim).
  • Wine grapes for cold stress. Result: improved pre-flower canopy growth by 16% (2018-19 Fruitfed Supplies trial, Blenheim).
  • Kiwifruit for cold stress. Result: improved pre-flower canopy growth by 16% (Fruitfed Supplies trials multiple seasons, Bay of Plenty).
  • Potatoes: less crop stress led to a marketable yield increase of 10.48%. (2010 Valagro trials, United Kingdom).
  • Lettuces: less crop stress led to a yield increase of 11% (Rimini trials multiple seasons, Italy).
  • Cherries: the weight of fruit increased by 4% compared to untreated (Valagro trials multiple seasons, California).

Valagro is a founding member of the European Biostimulant Industry Council (EBIC), an organisation established in 2011 to support European authorities in defining biostimulants and formulating relevant regulations while considering the interests of all stakeholders. EBIC’s work helps to define biostimulants from other crop management products. They require proof of efficacy and mode of action for each product, all aspects which help give growers confidence when they use products like Megafol.

If you’d like to know more about Valagro’s Megafol trial work, get in touch with your Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative.