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Cucurbits

Cucurbits are a family of herbaceous vines, including cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, gourds, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, and more. The Cucurbitaceae family are warm-weather crops, sown and grown in frost-free seasons. These various and mostly trailing or climbing plants make up one of the largest plant families grown for human consumption.

Specific considerations for vegetables

Preparing soils prior to planting and building soil carbon levels is an important aspect of high yielding crops. While nutrition is typically supplied as fertigated or foliar-applied fertilisers, options do exist to incorporate sustained release fertiliser during soil preparation.

Soil carbon plays a vital role in nutrient capture, cycling and delivery to plants as well as supporting microbial populations that help to agglomerate soils, enhance water infiltration and holding capacity, improve water use efficiency and build a buffer for plants to heat stress. The use of soil biostimulants Soil & Seed and HydraHume will help to address any underlying salinity issues.

A BioAg program can offer sustained release phosphorus and micronutrient fertilisers, as well as a range of soil and foliar biostimulants that supply soil carbon, food sources for crops and soil biology and natural chelators that aid the binding of nutrients to soils and uptake to plants, thus minimising nutrient loss pathways.

 

The BioAg approach

BioAg nutrition programs are incorporated into a growers current nutrition program. Our objective is to make fertiliser and other inputs work better and build and support healthy and balanced soils and plants. Programs are custom-made for each block, using advanced soil and tissue analysis. These integrated programs typically incorporate a range of BioAg solid and liquid nutrients, often associated with conventional inputs. BioAg fertility programs can be developed to meet organic certification requirements.

Soil test

An experienced and Fertcare accredited BioAg agronomist works with you and provides technical expertise on your crop. If you don’t already have recent soil test data, we arrange a soil test for you. The results provide essential information about the soil fertility and soil structure for better performance. Download the BioAg soil sampling procedure here.

A tailored program

Based on the results of soil tests, crop requirements and other factors such as soil structure, climate, history of the block, and targets that you are trying to achieve, we provide a tailored program that aims to improve soil fertility and maximise yield response. We support you through the program to ensure that inputs are applied at the right time, in the right way.

Leaf and tissue testing

Any nutritional program cannot foresee the changes in weather, disease, or pests, that may impact a crop.  During the season, growers may observe issues or evidence of stress in their crop. This may be due to greater growth or yields than planned, a trace element shortage or abiotic stresses. An on-farm inspection and associated leaf or tissue tests will promptly identify any issues, which can quickly be addressed by applying the appropriate inputs. Download the BioAg leaf sampling procedure here.

High yielding crops require fertile balanced soils

Key to highly productive crops is the function of soils. Soil structure, chemistry and biology are critical in supporting crops throughout the growing season. By improving all aspects of the soil, crops will benefit from improved access to moisture, due to improved infiltration and water holding capacity, improved access to nutrition through improved nutrient cycling, fixation (for N) and a reduction in loss pathways, improved resilience to abiotic stresses and disease, improved root growth providing access to additional moisture and nutrients as well as improved carbon sequestration and a range of other benefits (link to resources - soil health).

Beneficial microorganisms stimulate the plant’s root growth and help protect it from abiotic stresses. This is made possible through mutually beneficial relationships that microbes develop with plants, for example mycorrhizal associations.   BioAg products programs supply essential macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Ca), trace elements (B, Zn, Cu etc.),  microbial food and metabolites beneficial microorganisms that colonise root systems, improving soil function, plant health and productivity.

Zucchini

Cucurbits – key features of a BioAg program

The following table illustrates the cropping process and potential solutions depending on soil test results and other contributing factors. Call your BioAg Area Manager to discuss your individual needs.

Pre-sowing soil preparation Sep-Nov
Objective
Balance soil nutrient profile start to address underlying soil issues such as pH and or salinity.
Activity
Incorporate ameliorants, manure and sustained release fertiliser to build soil fertility.
BioAg Product
BioAgPhos: Rates depend on soil and crop requirements and the soil test results.
Pre-sowing soil preparation Sep-Nov
Objective
Balance soil nutrient profile start to address underlying soil issues such as pH and or salinity.
Activity
Incorporate ameliorants, manure and sustained release fertiliser to build soil fertility.
BioAg Product
BioAgSoP: Rates depend on soil and crop requirements and the soil test results.
Pre-sowing soil preparation Sep-Nov
Objective
Balance soil nutrient profile start to address underlying soil issues such as pH and or salinity.
Activity
Incorporate ameliorants, manure and sustained release fertiliser to build soil fertility.
BioAg Product
MagPhos: Rates depend on soil and crop requirements and the soil test results.
Pre-sowing soil preparation Sep-Nov
Objective
Balance soil nutrient profile start to address underlying soil issues such as pH and or salinity.
Activity
Incorporate ameliorants, manure and sustained release fertiliser to build soil fertility.
BioAg Product
BioAgBor: Rates depend on soil and crop requirements and the soil test results.
At sowing
Objective
Enhance seed germination and strike rate, continue to adress salintiy if present.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system at sowing.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 10 – 15L/ha
Seed germination cotyledons break through soil surface 2 weeks after sowing
Objective
Improve soil characteristics (nutrient retention and cycling, water rentention and cycling and adress salintiy isues), by maintianing soil carbon levels and enhance bufffering capabilities.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system at sowing.
BioAg Product
HydraHume: 15 – 20L/ha
2 weeks after seedling emerge
Objective
Enhance seedling growth.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system in 2-3 weeks after germination.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 4 – 6L/ha
9 or more true leaves unfolded
Objective
Stimulate plant vegetative biomass growth, encourage soil microbiota.
Activity
Foliar application.
BioAg Product
Balance & Grow + B or other trace elements Zn, M: 2 – 4L/ha
Primary side shoots visible
Objective
Enhance root development and improve vegetative growth.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 2 – 4L/ha
Secondary side shoots visible; Inflorescence emerge
Objective
Supply crop with bioactive substances for normal growth.
Activity
Foliar application.
BioAg Product
Balance & Grow + B or other trace elements Zn, M: 2 – 4L/ha
Flowering
Objective
Enhance nutrient uptake.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 2 – 4L/ha
Fruit appearance
Objective
Supply crop with bioactive substances for normal growth.
Activity
Foliar application.
BioAg Product
Balance & Grow + B or other trace elements Zn, M: 2 – 4L/ha
Fruit development
Objective
Enhance nutrient uptake.
Activity
Apply diluted through irrigation system.
BioAg Product
Soil & Seed: 2 – 4L/ha
Fruit has reached typical size and form
Objective
Supply crop with bioactive substances for normal growth.
Activity
Foliar application of BioAg biostimulants to support normal harvestable part formation.
BioAg Product
Fruit & Balance: 2 – 4L/ha
10% of fruits show typical fully ripe colour
Objective
Supply crop with bioactive substances for normal growth.
Activity
Foliar application of BioAg biostimulants to support normal harvestable part formation.
BioAg Product
Fruit & Balance: 2 – 4L/ha

Cucurbits resources

  • Regenerative agriculture

    The term regenerative agriculture has become aligned, or associated hand in hand, with the improvement of soils, improved soil fertility, and the benefits this provides to farms and rural communities. The approach typically promoted is a holistic one, taking into accoun...

    Read more

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