Over two decades the production team has worked closely with experienced technical advisor Steve Hughes – the last seven years in his role as ICL technical area sales manager for Wales and the West Midlands.
Utilising ICL’s precision nutrition software program, AngelaWeb, Hughes recently showed how nutrient release patterns could be dramatically improved employing a custom mix, tailored to plants’ exact needs. By taking in to account factors including potting and sales dates, water supply and growing media mix, AngelaWeb analysed the data and recommended a programme incorporating ICL’s fourth generation Osmocote Hi.End (8-9 month) product.
Benefitting from double coating technology (DCT), offering programmed release, a portion of the product begins its nutrient release at a later time, during the critical growth phase resulting in extremely efficient nutrient delivery.
Employing ICL’s Grow, Nurture and Protect Levington Advance Solution package, New Leaf Plants has switched from home mixing its growing media to a bespoke variation of the Levington Advance CNS General peat-reduced mix, with Osmocote Hi.End (8-9 month). The mix also contains Exemptor, providing protection from vine weevil and other pests including whitefly and sciarid. As required, later in the season the team supplement feeding with Universol hard water products.
Almost immediately after switching David Higginson saw improvements in the speed of crop development, plant quality and ease of management. "Plants were greener and healthier with good flower bud development," he says. "We also saw significant improvements in root development – noticeably stronger and quicker to root round the pot."
At the next stage, Hughes employed AngelaWeb to look in more detail at potting and sales dates, comparing these to the release curves for the range of Osmocote Hi.End products.
As a result, New Leaf Plants now uses three grades of Osmocote Hi.End depending on the expected potting and sales dates; Osmocote Hi.End 5-6month for short term crops, Osmocote Hi.End 8-9month for standard production crops and Osmocote Hi.End 12-14 month for long term crops and specimen crops in larger pots at higher rates.
"Commercial growing today is all about driving efficiencies in the production cycle," says Higginson. "By forming strategic relationships with suppliers, such as ICL, we are producing better quality plants while importantly reducing inputs and improving efficiencies. With ongoing monitoring, AngelaWeb and the development of new ICL products we are confident of making further improvements in efficiency in the future, while continuing to produce top quality plants."
- This is content produced in partnership with ICL