With late frosts a constant worry for Scotland’s fruit growers, a new addition to the natural bio-stimulant range from UK manufacturer, AminoA, promises to minimise or eliminate crop damage in flowering fruit crops.

It achieves this by stimulating the production of natural plant anti-freeze protein (AFP) and is now fully approved for organic use with OF and G.

The product, AminoA ICEAAX, is the latest introduction to come off its production line, complementing a range of bio-stimulants which have demonstrated proven results. In this case, it was in a series of replicated trials across all crops, from cereals to soft and top fruits.

Developed out of specific demand from growers experiencing catastrophic frost damage in apple and pear orchards, ICEAAX is an easy-to-use liquid L-isomer amino acid complex that stimulates the production of AFP.

Losses can be catastrophic in flowering crops, such apples and pears, and while frost injury rarely causes complete crop loss in soft fruit, such as strawberries, flower buds are particularly susceptible any time after bud break, at temperatures of -1°C or lower.

By applying at flowering, immediately before a frost event, it can lowers the freezing point of the cell cytoplasm, enabling the crop to resist the late frost.

“Growers have traditionally used methods, such as lighting fires overnight in flowering orchards, or irrigating to prevent frost damage,” explained Richard Phillips, AminoA's managing director.

“We knew our existing range of bio-stimulants provide significant frost tolerance in soft and top fruit crops, now ICEAAX uses a high concentration of L-isomer amino-acids to provide reliable results down to -3°C depending on RH and duration,” he said.

Alongside the new frost protection range, AminoA products have been delivering effective results in all crops, according to independent agronomists. In Scotland, conventional and organic growers of OSR crops are benefitting from impressive root growth and greening with applications of AminoA’s natural amino-acid complex bio-stimulants.

Recognising the growing market for organic OSR, which is achieving significant premiums over conventional crops, independent agronomist, Andy Cheetham, at Ceres Agri Services, now has several clients across Scotland growing organic oilseed rape this season.

He plans to make amino acids a major part of inputs for the organic crops, and is using OF and G approved AminoA GRO.

“I have applied AminoA GRO to a field which was hammered with pigeons, stripping the leaves. Following two applications of GRO, at 1.25l/ha each application, the crop has recovered within a couple of weeks, with lots of new root growth,” Mr Cheetham said.

“The other sites will get AminoA GRO plus a cocktail of other nutrients which are known to release the growth hormones within the plant,” he added.

Independent agronomist, Helen Baxter, has been using AminoA FLO on conventional OSR crops across the east of England. She commented: “We have seen improvement in root development, stem thickness and rapid early green leaf growth during establishment.

“I am convinced its use in our programmes helped improve and gave a more reliable establishment of our crops. Also, after this winter’s significant severe late frost damage to our crops, we applied AminoA FLO in the early spring programme, and have seen very fast recovery and excellent spring growth.”

Ms Baxter said that over four-years of working with her clients using AminoA FLO, had built confidence in the use of the product and with its latest sister products, will be an essential part of her agronomy toolbox.