Issue 2 2021
 
Time to talk tomatoes
Who’d be a tomato grower? The patience, precision and investment – in money and effort – required to nurture this specialist crop can seem overwhelming.

International demand for this delicious and nutritious part of many a meal has increased for a tenth year in succession. However, the booming global appetite for fresh tomatoes has done nothing to alleviate the pressure on growers to consistently produce the quality and quantity required by the exacting market standards.

This is the week when the ‘Future of Fresh Tomatoes’ has been the focus. Over 1,300 people from more than 50 countries are getting together (virtually for the first time) at the ICL IAS sponsored Global Tomato Congress to talk tomatoes. Or, should that be to listen and learn from the specialists’ and innovators’ tomato talks?
 
Watch our YouTube video on five ICL IAS nutrition products to take your tomatoes to new levels of performance.
With any crop, of course, it’s important to listen carefully to the market. Varietal choice, post-harvest handling and packaging, new ways of selling are – yes indeed – all going to influence production. But we feel that nothing is going to influence each tomato plant’s robustness, growth, fruit yield and quality parameters more than the precision nutrition of the crop.

That’s where tomato growers can rely on us. More and more tomato growers are looking to finely balance and optimize the nutrition of their crop. That’s whether they are growing the crop in soil, with fertigation or hydroponically. Not only does Polysulphate give the right prolonged availability of the perfect mix of key nutrients K, S, Ca and Mg, but it also improves the use efficiency of other nutrients in a balanced fertilizer strategy.

Evidence of the benefits of Polysulphate is accumulating. Our experiments library already has examples from countries such as Colombia, Israel and China of the boost to yield (up to 14%), quality and disease suppression from applying Polysulphate to tomatoes.
 
Tomato trial in Henan Province, China (2016). Polysulphate application significantly increased yields as compared with farmer practice: the average yield when treated with Polysulphate increased by 14%.
Assuring the crop has all the nutrients, when and how they are needed, is reassuring to the grower. It’s one thing less to worry over. That’s why we have been sharing news about Polysulphate, and other products from ICL IAS, at the Global Tomato Congress. It’s the way that we are helping to get more of those nutrition-packed, taste-tingling red fruits in our sandwiches and salads, on our pizzas and paellas and cooked in our cannelloni and curries. But most of all we say thanks to the world’s hard-working tomato growers whose efforts – from planning to picking, from seed to packing – get probably one of the world’s favorite ingredients onto our plates.
 
Greenhouse trial at Bet Ezra, Israel (2017). The leaves of the tomato plant on the left (without Polysulphate application) are showing clear signs of magnesium (Mg) deficiency. The plants are the same age, variety, and they are grown in the same conditions. The only difference was the application of Polysulphate fertilizer. 
 
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Mined in the UK, ICL is the first – and only - producer in the world to mine polyhalite, marketed as Polysulphate