Better yields in tomato production are possible in spite of reductions in nitrogen levels. Biostimulines and microorganisms improve the vitality and resistance of crops. Overall nitrogen levels, both NH4+ and NO3-, can be reduced by almost 20 per cent on average while at the same time increasing yields.

Koppert’s Ed Moerman, Natu-Gro knowledge & System Development, gave a presentation about the reduced use of nitrogen with top results in tomatoes.

His presentation was part of the official conference program of Fruit Logistica 2015 in Berlin. He explained that by running an ammonnium and nitrate energy intensive production plan one limits emission to groundwater and the air. There is, after all, free nitrogen available in the air. It will also result in less pests and diseases. You will need less agro chemicals which guarantees better food health. That translates into top results, he added. Which are?
• Uncompromised production quality;
• Zero-residue;
• More efficient plant nutrition; and
• Robust, resilient cultivation.
But, producers need to undergo a paradigm shift first to successfully practise such a programme. Traditionally producers react on symptoms with a “Control Kill” mind set.The better method would be to:
• increase the biodiversity around the roots with known micro organisms;
• boost the root growth;
• support microbial life in the root zone;
• respect organisms in the rhizospere;
• stimulate the metabolic processes in the plant; and
• reduce the abiotic stress.

When these methods are followed and handled properly the soil’s food web turns the Nitrate-N into amino acids which the plant absorbs easier and at a lower energy cost which makes a lower mineral nitrate application possible. This contributes to a higher ratio Brix/nitrate in foliage which makes the foliage less attractive to pests and diseases, reducing the need for agro chemicals.