The well attended 2017 Pineapple Field days held on the 20th and 21st of July, went off like a frog in a sock this year, with growers from all over Queensland travelling to the glorious Sunshine Coast region to listen, learn and mingle with other associated industry representatives. Amongst the fun and social side to the field days, the two days were dominated by controlled release fertiliser (CRF) demonstrations in pineapples. Day one of the field days was hosted by Oakes & Sons pineapple farm at Valdora, just east of Yandina. Gordon and Murray Oakes farm was selected as a CRF trial site by Georgie Townsend at Growcom who wanted to put on a first hand show for growers to display the potential benefits for pineapples of using a fertiliser with controlled release properties. Representatives from Barmac, who supplied the FertiCote CRF Pineapple Blend, and Stuart Irvine-Brown from The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) who coordinated and evaluated the trial findings were on hand to deliver the positive results to the crowd. A large segment of the day was spent showing the results of the trial and answering questions. Barmac was represented at the pineapple field day by Renier Scheepers, Wayne Muller, Sam Scalora and Chris Poletto.
The trial site 8 months in (planted Nov 2016) has showed FertiCote CRF Pineapple Blend delivered a significant improvement to pineapple plant mass, and in particular stem weight and leaf area compared to the standard practice for the farm. More importantly this positive result was obtained without the monthly foliar sprays of urea and potash. One of the main drivers for establishing the trial was potential profit improvements for pineapple growers through use of controlled release fertilisers to increase yields through efficiencies in nutrient supply and plant uptake and in the reduction of management costs due to fewer fertiliser applications leading to positive economic and environmental outcomes.
Day two of the field days saw the tour continue on to the Glasshouse Mountains region where Growcom organised farm tours of Robert Frizzo, Ian Fullerton and Adam Pikes pineapple plantations. Further demonstrations of CRF trials ran by Coochin Creek Coop and DAF were on show at Robert and Ian’s farms where positive outcomes were also achieved.
The take home message from the FertiCote and other CRF trials during the field days was a positive one for pineapple growers. While the upfront cost of CRF blends is higher than traditional fertilisers, this cost is hugely offset by the improved use of fertiliser by plants over a period of time and by the savings from reduced fuel, fertiliser and labour linked to additional monthly foliar spraying regimes. The environment and waterways feeding into the Pumicestone Passage will also be beneficiaries of improved fertiliser efficient farm practices on pineapple farms due to less available fertiliser being available to be leached from farms.
Copies of the FertiCote and other CRF trial reports are available through Stuart Irvine-Brown at DAF in Nambour. For more information about FertiCote blends please refer to our website at barmac.com.au or talk to your local Barmac Territory Manager.