Robert van Merkestein1, Liz Mann2
Calix Limited is developing BOOSTER-Mag™ for application as a low cost and benign foliar spray for agriculture. The product is a concentrated aqueous suspension of mineral derived bio-active magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2). Under the auspices of the Australian Processing Tomato Research Council (APTRC), Calix is working directly with Victorian processing tomato growers to quantify the effect of the product on marketable yield and fruit quality. Over the 2015/2016 season, an initial split plot, multi-replicate field evaluation of BOOSTER-Mag™ treatment in field grown processing tomato was undertaken across three different farms in central Victoria. Three BOOSTER-Mag™ treatments were applied at 1.5 kg concentrate/ha over a 33 day period approximately coinciding with the grow-out midpoint. The treatments were in addition to the conventional pesticide treatments applied throughout the season according to Integrated Pest Management (IMP) methodology and agronomist advice. Hand harvest data obtained one week prior to mechanical harvest demonstrated that additional treatment coincided with an increase in the average yield of red and unblemished fruit across all three farms (by 6%) relative to the conventionally farmed controls, an outcome somewhat concomitant with observed reductions in unripe, blossom end-rot and insect affected fruit. The reduction in the yield of insect damaged fruit is difficult to explain by macronutrient augmentation and suggests the additional treatment provided insect pest control.