May 29, 2020

Soluble Calcium Can Improve Fruit Quality in Avocados

THE inclusion of a 100% water soluble source of calcium early in the growing season is the secret to producing high quality and nutritious avocados.

Yara Crop Nutrition Sales Agronomist – Mark Redshaw, says avocado trees need a source of plant-available calcium during flowering and early fruit set for optimal plant health, fruit quality and marketable yield.

“Calcium plays a vital role in cell structure and strength,” he says.

“It helps to create a strong cell wall and maintain the integrity of the cellular membrane, which in turn, increases resilience to insects and disease.

“Calcium also optimises fruit quality and shelf life.

“Conversely, low calcium levels in the fruit are associated with sensitivity to cold damage, quick ripening, fruit softening and pulp discolouration.”

Calcium is primarily taken up by the roots and moves upwards via the xylem.

“The transport of calcium in the tree is a one-way process – it moves upwards to the higher parts of the plant and doesn’t return,” Mark says.

“For this reason, it is essential to deliver plant-available calcium to the root zone during the root flush, which generally precedes flowering and early fruit development.

“This will maximise calcium content of the developing fruit, supporting fruit quality.

“Calcium helps to maintain soil structure in the root zone and maintain root cell wall integrity.

“Calcium also helps to reduce sodium uptake under saline conditions, as well as regulating plant water levels via its role in opening and closing stomata.”

Mark says powdered forms of calcium, such as calcium sulphate (gypsum) and calcium carbonate (lime), should be considered as soil amelioration products for addressing acidity or sodicity.

“They have low solubility and release calcium too slowly to support fruit quality,” he says.

“By comparison, calcium nitrate fertilisers provides a rich source of plant-available nitrogen and soluble calcium.”

Examples include YaraLiva NITRABOR (15.5% N + 18.3% Ca + 0.3% B), which is typically applied as ground applications.

The free-flowing, evenly-sized granules feature a unique coating technology to prevent the absorption of moisture during storage and handling, yet dissolve readily once in contact with soil moisture, humidity or night dew.

Alternatively include YaraTera CALCINIT (15.5% N + 19% Ca) which is typically applied via fertigation systems.

Yara provides technical support to growers and their advisors via a team of  regionally-based sales agronomists, customer service representatives and technical support staff.

“Our goal is to deliver integrated crop nutrition solutions that genuinely increase the productivity and profitability of our customers,” Mark says.

“All of our products are backed innovative decision-making tools to help you to get the best return from your investment in quality crop nutrition.”

Yara markets a comprehensive range of fertilisers, including YaraMila (NPKs), YaraLiva (calcium nitrates), YaraBela (nitrogen fertilisers), YaraVita (foliar micronutrients), and YaraTera (soluble straights and NPK fertilisers)