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Success Story: Increasing profitability using a Tradecorp Salinity and Sodicity management program – Tradecorp Central Office – 20/08/2020

Between 25 – 35% of worldwide agricultural lands are affected by salinity and sodicity which are two of the most difficult abiotic stresses to manage.

Below we present a case study of a grower from Australia who used a Tradecorp salinity and sodicity management program. The strategy used products from the locally available portfolio and was adapted to the specific field situation by the local Tradecorp Australia team.

Soil salinity and sodicity affects about 50% of Australia’s agricultural land. This Tradecorp program was used in Queensland in a clay loam soil that is naturally rich in Potassium and has a high natural fertility. Soils in the area are traditionally used for cultivating vegetable and root crops.

In recent years, the soil in the area has suffered from increasing salinity, partly due to the irrigation water, which also suffers from high salinity, in particular dissolved Sodium and Chlorides. Growers in the region practice good salinity and sodicity agronomic management practices, such as regular applications of Gypsum. However, due to limited rainfall the problem is increasing year on year.

The soil at study site (5 ha, Control – existing program, 5 ha Tradecorp program) was classified as highly / severely saline, and the irrigation water contained high Sodium and Chlorides and was classified as Class 4 (both classifications were under Australian standards). The soil had an organic matter content of 2 – 3%, high NPK, Calcium, Magnesium and micronutrient status. Soil EC was high at ~150 mS/m, had high Chlorides, Sodium was also high, bordering on sodicity. Overall the site of the study is representative of the soil conditions in the region in general.

The Tradecorp Australia team developed a salinity and sodicity strategy adapted to the local field and crop situation. The program consisted of:

  • Humifirst WG & Saltrad (soil applications)
  • Delfan Plus & Phylgreen (foliar applications)

The program was applied to transplanted Broccoli, (a moderately salt sensitive crop) that is grown under drip irrigation.

Dosage

  • Humifirst WG 5kg /ha 4 applications 1, 4, 7 and 9 weeks after planting
  • Saltrad 30L /ha 3 applications 1, 5 and 8 weeks after planting
  • Delfan Plus 4L /ha 3 applications 3, 5 and 7 weeks after planting
  • Phylgreen 2L /ha 4 applications 3,6 and 8 weeks after planting

The results: Outstanding outcome in yield and quality with Tradecorp salinity and sodicity program…

During crop growth, parameters such as root length and stem diameter were positively increased – indicating the benefits of the Tradecorp salinity and sodicity program during the growth phase. The crop was hand harvested, as is typical for Broccoli, and tracked through the processing and packing facility.

Total yield

At the first cut-out, yield was increased +34%, both through higher head weight, as well as a higher cut-out percentage.

At the second cut-out, yield was increased +38% giving a net total yield increase of +35%. The cut out was high enough in the Tradecorp Program that a 3 rd cut was not necessary and this also eliminated the labour cost associated with this.

Analysis of the data indicated that in addition to the higher yield achieved through the extra cut-out of the crop (almost 4000 extra heads were harvested /ha), the quality of the individual heads was also improved as outlined below.

Fig. 1 Quality Parameters – Head Size Distribution

Fig. 1 Broccoli Head Diameter distribution using Tradecorp salinity and sodicity management program, adapted to local portfolio, grower and prevailing conditions.

Heads in the 140mm – 150 mm size category were increased 600% and heads in the undersize (<110 mm) category were reduced from 5% to 0 (Fig. 1).

Fig. 2 Quality Parameters – Head Weight Distribution

Fig. 2 Broccoli Head Size distribution using Tradecorp salinity & sodicity management program, adapted to local portfolio, grower and prevailing conditions.

The larger head sizes also translated into higher individual head weights with 10% of heads >500 g in the Tradecorp Program compared to 0% in the Control. Similarly, at the other end of the scale heads >300g were reduced from 15% in the Control to 5% in the Tradecorp Program.

The crop was tracked through the processing and packing facility and the Return on Investment (ROI) calculated. For every AU$1 the grower invested in Tradecorp products to manage salinity and sodicity , the grower recovered this investment, and also made an extra profit of AU$1.5 (ROI 1:1.5) indicating the financial benefit of working with your local Tradecorp team, and portfolio, to overcome agronomic problems specific to your local situation.

How can the incredible results of the Tradecorp salinity and sodicity program be explained?

From the 7 tips outlined for a Gold Standard salinity and sodicity management program, 4 were included in this particular program:

  • The application of Humifirst would have explained a large proportion of the increased root growth observed, while Saltrad would have reduced Sodium in the root zone. Both of these effects would have improved water and nutrient dynamics in the growing crop increasing growth and yield potential.
  • The regular applications of Phylgreen, with its Primactive effect, would have enabled the crop to better resist the abiotic stress effects of salinity and sodicity, for example, through increased gene signalling in the plant to make specific proteins that help reduce the negative growth effects of damaging oxidative chemicals released inside the plant during stress.
  • Similarly, the regular applications of Delfan Plus would have brought extra energy to the plant across the growing cycle. This would have helped the crop to maintain growth rate in these high stress growing conditions. Delfan Plus´ mode of action would also have helped preserve the correct functioning of plant metabolism, for example via the continued production of secondary metabolites that can help the plant better resist stress.

Should you have any questions in how to manage Salinity and Sodicity in your crop, how to better manage Abiotic Stress in general or other agronomic needs, our local team is ready to assist you. Please get in contact with your local representative.

References:

    1. Commonwealth Government of Australia, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Australia State of the Environment 2016.

https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/land/topic/2016/soil-salinity-and-acidification

    1. Shannon, MC, and Grieve CM. (1999) Tolerance of Vegetable crops to Salinity. Scientia Horticulturae 78, 5 – 38.

https://www.ars.usda.gov/arsuserfiles/20360500/pdf_pubs/P1567.pdf