Plant sugars’ key role in determining crop nutrition strategies


A Fife farm supervisor hopes to show the advantages of utilizing the Brix meter – a measure of the sugars in a plant – to drive crop vitamin choices in a sequence of on-farm trials.

David Aglen, farm supervisor at Balbirnie House Farms, will perform tramline-scale trials utilizing the Brix meter as a part of the farm’s involvement in levy physique AHDB’s strategic farms community.

“We’re going to measure Brix all through the season on a crop of winter wheat. It is a measure of the soluble solids within the plant sap,” stated Mr Aglen.

He stated a Brix refractometer, which entails measuring the liquid from a pattern of plant tissue, will decide the sugar and nutrient density of the plant.

“The upper the studying the higher,” Mr Aglen added.

“If the extent drops under a sure quantity, which we have to resolve, we are going to take a look at the plant tissue and see what it’s missing.”

He stated info from each the Brix meter testing and tissue sampling would drive choices on plant vitamin for the crop concerned within the trial all through the rising season.

Different goals of the farm’s involvement within the six-year AHDB strategic farms venture could be to take a look at regenerative agriculture and farming in a far more in tune with the setting, stated Mr Aglen.

He added: “All my life, and for generations earlier than, all now we have performed is open a bag and chuck it on a discipline, however it’s changing into obvious that now we have performed some fairly horrendous issues to the soil.”

He stated he hoped to showcase a “prevention is best than remedy” method to crop vitamin by lowering reliance on fungicides and preserving crops wholesome by vitamin.

“It will be good to exhibit that you simply don’t want to achieve for the substitute merchandise first.”

He added: “If we aren’t utilizing them there’s much less stress on polluting the setting, much less harm to the setting and maybe better-quality meals coming because of this.”

He confused he was not proposing a transfer to natural manufacturing, however as a substitute a transfer to lowering the business’s reliance on artificial inputs.

“As an business we have to stick collectively way more,” stated Mr Aglen.

“We have to be doing the analysis on-farm and sharing the outcomes with our friends.

“That is one thing the place the farmers are going to should fund it by AHDB. The largest winners out of this might be the producers ourselves.”

Balbirnie is a 3,000-acre combined unit with virtually 2,000 acres of arable cropping in addition to a 170-cow suckler herd of primarily Simmental cross cattle. Cropping consists of malting barley, wheat, winter and spring oats, and a small quantity of oilseed rape.

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