‘Big four’ approach for maximum yield

The “big four” approach Joel Williams said Zimmer’s discovery, known as the “big four” approach, focuses on building maximum sugar production and microbe support.

Gary Zimmer, an American consultant and promoter of biological farming discovered that if calcium, phosphorus, boron and magnesium are maintained at luxury levels in the leaves of crops, maximum yield and quality can be expected. 

“These are the fundamental building blocks of plant production,” Williams said. As sugar is the product of photosynthesis, the amount of chlorophyll available in a leaf is directly related to the amount of sugar that can be produced. He said more chlorophyll will result in more sugar. If more energy is made available for plant growth, more food will be on hand to support an expanding microbe population. “Beneficial soil microbes feed from sugar dumped by a plant into the root zone,” Williams explained, adding that soil microbes are responsible for fixing nitrogen and making elements such as potassium and phosphorus available.

Williams encouraged farmers to adopt the “big four” approach. He said Zimmer stumbled upon this discovery on his dairy farm paddocks when he realised that the best performing paddocks had high levels of calcium, phosphorus, boron and magnesium. Williams said calcium is “the trucker of all minerals” as it pulls in all other elements into the plant. It influences brix levels and if calcium levels are too low, plant sap pH will also be low and cause higher disease pressure. High nitrogen and potassium levels will also have a negative impact on calcium uptake.

It is important to boost boron levels as it is a calcium synergist. “It opens the trapdoor between the chloroplast and the rest of the plant,” Williams said. Phosphorus is essential to supply energy to the system, particularly photosynthesis. He said low phosphorus levels are often responsible for high plant sap pH, resulting in higher pest pressure. Magnesium is a phosphorus synergist and is an essential component of chlorophyll. Contact Justin Platt on 083 264 6816.