A NEW advanced foliar treatment for brassicas, leafy greens and root vegetables, has been launched by Omya UK.

Its InCa Plus had been developed by specialist technology business Plant Impact and contains patented CaTTM technology, proven in multiple independent trials to optimise calcium mobility in crops.

Calcium is an essential nutrient for cell wall and membrane structure and is taken up with water in the transpiration stream, but once inside the plant, calcium is not very mobile, so organs with low transpiration rates, such as young leaves or fruits, can suffer from calcium disorders like tip burn in leafy greens, or cavity spot in carrots.

This can happen despite sufficient calcium availability in the soil. Calcium typically moves in tissues via the apoplastic pathway, where water (with solutes) moves between cells, or through cell walls, but does not enter the cell membrane. The technology in InCa Plus stimulates selective ion transport channels in membranes, which increases calcium concentration inside cells, encouraging movement via this pathway.

Extensive independent trials in the UK and Europe have demonstrated significant marketable yield improvements using InCa Plus in broccoli and cabbage. Average head weights increased by more than 5% in broccoli and 7% in white winter cabbages and marketable quality.

In Poland, InCa Plus increased the percentage of class 1 cabbage heads and almost eliminated the number of non-marketable heads.

David McLellan, an agronomist and head of sales for Omya in the UK and Ireland, recommended that growers apply InCa Plus regularly, but at low rates to get the best results.

He said: “InCa Plus improves plant resilience by improving calcium mobility in the plant, which is going to be important for growers relying on spring planting this year. An application when the first true leaf is visible, repeated every couple of weeks until harvest (3-5 applications) will typically give up to a 5% improvement in marketable yield and storability. This is a significant return on investment for the grower.”

It can be applied with most pesticides and foliar fertilisers.