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  • Writer's picturemike@loxyde

OXYGEN IS A FERTILISER

I have been accused by some of being too far ahead of current agricultural practices! I consider that a compliment.

For instance for the last 8 years in the Netherlands, I have been screaming from rooftops to treat liquid manure with stabilised oxygen – GierO2 (as opposed to bubbling air through the liquid manure) so as to nitrify the ammonia in situ. It works extremely well and is environment friendly. No one in government would listen until recently when the Netherlands landed in an ammonia crisis being accused of producing too much ammonia. Now everyone wants to test it, as the possible solution to reducing the ammonia produced by liquid manure.

In the title of this article I make another bold claim: that oxygen (O2) is a fertiliser. Try growing any main crop without a sufficient or constant soil O2 content and see what happens!


The aim of adding an NPK fertiliser + micro-nutrients is to provide a crop - no matter what it is - with all (and more) - of the nutrients it requires to grow quickly and produce a high yield.


A problem that many conventional farmers face is that under normal circumstances field crops – no matter what they are - yield more or less the same year after year. Yet fertilisers have improved, soil ploughing methods have improved, agricultural chemicals have improved, etc. but in real terms using conventional farming methods, yields have not significantly increased – and in some cases have even dropped.

Soil oxygen content and availability is a crucial element for plant growth and plant health. In fact I would even venture to say that OXYGEN is the primary elements that plants require to grow and function optimally.


Considering that most crops are grown in monoculture and as close to each other as

possible crops are competing against each other for nutrients, oxygen and water. To minimise nutrient competition, farmers insure that there is plenty of fertiliser available for the crops requirement. If you have irrigation, then crops will not need to compete for water. But they will compete for oxygen simply due to the requirements we place on crops: Fast growth & high yield.

Yet we expect a high return from crops but we do not provide them with an essential element: OXYGEN.

Simply put: Oxygen is the missing element that farmers were never told about

Insufficient soil oxygen level will also encourage the presence of pathogens such as for example: Pythium, Fusarium and Phytophthora that can easily become prevalent. Research has demonstrated that in well oxygenated soils these pathogens are not an issue.


Currently farmers are told that the following are the main macro and micro nutrients:


Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, used to produce sugars from water and carbon dioxide (i.e., photosynthesis). It is also a major component of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Deficiency in nitrogen leads to stunted growth, depending on the severity of the deficiency.


Phosphorus is used by plants in numerous processes such as photophosphorylation, genetic transfer, the transportation of nutrients, and phospholipid cell membranes.


Potassium is associated with the movement of water, nutrients and carbohydrates in plant tissue. It's involved with enzyme activation within the plant, which affects protein, starch and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production.

One of the main difference with the 3 macro nutrients NPK and Oxygen, is that soil O2 deficiency will kill plants in a relative short time whereas that will generally not be the case for the NPK. Oxygen must be a macro-element for plants as it is required for all processes which in which NPK are involved. Main reasons for soil oxygen depletion (the short version): In Greenhouses: the main reason that irrigation water is lacking in O2 due to its origin, treatment, fertiliser load, recycling of water, etc. During irrigation, water pushes out all oxygen in the growth medium in which plants are grown so if the water is oxygen poor, the plant immediately goes into stress and survival mode when detecting a lack of oxygen in the roots. As the water drains from the growth medium oxygen is allowed back and the plant reacts to this and normal processes start up again. But as irrigation may occur several times a day, it creates a yoyo effect which does have a negative effect on plant yield, plant sugars, fruit sugars, fruit shelf life, etc. Drip irrigation system are often quite long and will also use oxygen. So for instance if at the start you have and oxygen level of 8 ppm which is considered good, you will easily loose about 4 ppm in the irrigation system meaning that it is insufficient and will cause hypoxia. Field irrigation: oxygen levels are affected by a whole range of factors such as:

  1. soil structure,

  2. soil type

  3. soil organic matter %,

  4. soil compaction,

  5. soil cultivation,

  6. origin of irrigation water,

  7. water storage,

  8. water temperature,

  9. water fertiliser load,

  10. water mineral load,

  11. type of irrigation system used – ie: open channel, drip irrigation, field sprayer, etc.

Another factor that influences soil oxygen levels is that water also needs and oxygen balance, so oxygen poor or depleted water is often perceived as aggressive water the reason being that it will actively and aggressively steal oxygen away from any source it can… meaning less available oxygen for the soil.


Soil Oxygen is a macro element, its highly needed by the plant root system for all sorts of processes and just as you wouldn’t think twice about feeding plants an NPK and micro element fertiliser, if you want to increase your yield you need to supplement oxygen for everything to work smoothly.


The easiest way to oxygenate soils:



Logo Loxsoil for soil oxygenation

LOXSOIL is a highly stabilised source of liquid oxygen using only environment friendly ingredients which all break down to water and oxygen. It does not contain any heavy metals or silver which would have a significantly negative impact on the soil.

The reason its highly stabilised is to ensure it has a slow release effect and can get to where it needs to - i.e. in the soil.



Application:

  • Drip irrigation dosed at 50 ml/1000 L water – preferably continually to prevent plant & soil hypoxia due to most irrigation water being oxygen poor.

  • Field spray dosed at 1 L per hectare – First application when plant emerges or just before and repeated a minimum of 4 times at 1-2 week intervals. Apply preferably / when possible just before rainfall.










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