The series of field days held by ICL China for growers of specialist crops in Guangxi province are being enthusiastically welcomed by farmers as opportunities to see the results of balanced crop nutrition and to help them formulate improved fertilizer strategies.
Many farmers of crops such as mango and table grapes ignore the role of medium and micro-nutrients, according to ICL China Agronomist Guohua Li. As a result, yields are lower, and quality is poorer than hoped for. The ICL team chose to host field days demonstrating better crop nutrition in farmers’ orchards and vineyards and invite growers to meet ICL agronomists and local agricultural experts.
Field or demonstration days have long been regarded as beneficial to farmers. The contemporary versions benefit from digital technology to invite the participants, advise them what they will see and can get advice on. Also, farmers can record content – in photos and film – to review afterwards and the organizers can share the outputs with those who were unable to attend, through films made about the day.
In the field days in Guangxi, plenty of time was set aside for the visiting farmers to hear from the host farmers who are already using a Polysulphate product and have seen the benefits. Beneath the mango branches and grape vines, the visitors heard how prolonged availability of plant nutrients contributed to more robust growth (bigger and strong roots, shoots, leaves and branches) and better fruits (in size, quality and flavor).
Conversations create opportunities to pose questions and get guidance. The most frequently asked questions from farmers to the advisory team included “Why are medium- and micro-nutrients so important to crops?” and “How to apply these nutrients to my crops?”.
Field day participants returned to their own farms better informed about the importance of balanced crop nutrition for their crops. When asked what they planned to implement, the most common response was to pay attention to balanced fertilization in their future plantings and management and to focus especially on supply of calcium and magnesium nutrients.