Omex Agrifluids, the UK-based formulator and exporter of soluble plant nutrients, has introduced Omex Calmax, a foliar fertiliser for fruit and vegetable crops including coffee beans, aiming to improve fruit firmness, storability, colour and skin finish
With calcium being the primary constituent for cell walls and membranes of coffee beans, the product is rich in soluble calcium and applied by foliar spraying as an integral part of the Omex foliar-feeding programme for coffee.
“Foliar application of Omex Calmax containing 22.50 per cent Ca avoids potential lock-down of calcium in the soil,” said Peter Prentis, export director of Omex.
“Calcium is a crucially important structural component of coffee berries, cherry and beans as a constituent of calcium pectate which cements cell walls together. The calcium nutrient displays inherently poor mobility made worse by soil lock-down caused by calcium reacting with phosphorous to form insoluble, plant-unavailable calcium phosphate,” the company explained.
Any shortfall in the calcium nutrition of coffee plants may impact on vegetative growth and reduce yield of coffee cherry, while increasing frequency of primary bean defects and secondary damage caused mechanically or by insect pests.
According to recent results from Omex-funded research on coffee in Vietnam, Omex Calmax shows a range of benefits from foliar application.
Improvements in growth of coffee bushes, yield and quality of the coffee harvest due to Omex Calmax included:
· Higher coffee cherry and bean yields per tree
· Increased branch extension growth
· Higher bean quality as measured by bean size
· Reduced frequency of green coffee bean defects including black, mouldy and broken beans
“Some coffee growing areas in Vietnam have inherently low pH soils, so enhanced cell and tissue strength afforded by the extra calcium, and translating into lower levels of berry disease with reduced berry drop and fungicide usage, offers exciting opportunities for farmers using Omex Calmax,” noted Prentis.
“Much of the Arabica coffee produced in Kenya is grown on moderately acidic soils within the pH 5-6 range,” according to Alan Lowes, regional director of Omex.
Liming during the growing season is common practice in areas of low soil pH and there is concern that soil acidity is increasing in some areas of Kenya. “Application of Omex Calmax containing soluble calcium can avoid the deficiencies commonly caused by lock-up of soil calcium,” Lowes viewed.