Managing plant stress for improved production. - Elders Rural Services

Managing plant stress for improved production.

Australia can be a tough place to grow crops. The environment can be volatile and often hostile, which can impact horticultural production.

Providing crops with water and fertilizer only goes someway in preparing plants for environmental stress. Australian growers fight a constant battle against extremes of temperatures, excessive solar radiation, waterlogging and moisture stress. Most plants encounter some form of stress several times every day.

This means they need to divert energy to respond to these stresses or repair damage to cells rather than directing that energy to production.

A deep passion for soil and plant health drove Omnia to develop a product specifically aimed at boosting a plant’s resilience to environmental stress, improving nutrient uptake and maximising yield potential.

“Mega-Kel-P is widely recognised as the foliar product to use in horticulture prior to high carbohydrate demand periods like flowering,” Omnia sales and marketing manager Darren Thomas said.

“It features phosphorus, trace elements, fulvic acid and kelp. It stimulates the plant to produce root growth and certain amino acids which aid in energy production and stress resilience.

Growers report healthier plants, more vigorous and finer white root growth, better yields and improved tolerance to stresses caused by disease or the environment.”

But Mr Thomas said the product was not a silver bullet.

“We see improvements because of increased root development and an improvement of the biological activity in the soil leveraging the uptake of water and nutrients,” he said.
“You still need to supply your crop with the required NPK and trace elements, either through soil application or fertigation and balance the pH of your soil.”

Mr Thomas said that, in untreated crops, calcium uptake at critical times did not keep up with the crop’s requirements and that Mega-Kel-P could help because calcium in the soil could only be taken up through a growing root tip.

“The greater concentration of growing root tips, the greater the potential for calcium uptake,” Mr Thomas said.

“During summer, heat and irrigation deficits can trigger stress which can severely reduce fruit set or development, Mega-Kel-P may reduce the impact of this stress.”

Chart 1. Average head size increase in broccoli with 1 application of Mega-Kel-P compared to commercial fertiliser program. East Gippsland 2020.


Chart 2. Average kernel yield increase in almond with 3 application of Mega-Kel-P compared to commercial fertiliser program. Robinvale 2018/19.


Trial results on commercial farms show the net result of using Mega-Kel-P as part of the grower’s normal nutrition program. In the almond trial (Chart 2) the improvement in net return to the grower after deducting product cost was an extra $784 /ha.For more information contact your nearest Elders Agronomist.

Editorial written by Omnia Specialties Australia for the Summer 2020/2021 Seasons Magazine