Attention to detail or attention to basics

Posted On 22 Feb 2014
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JonZHarrisTHE UK: Jon Harris of Horticentre this month reflects on the need to Attend to the Basics when it comes to successful crop production.

We hear the cliché “attention to detail” all the time but does it really hold true for most growers?  In my opinion “attention to the basics” is a phrase I would rather hear a lot more!  We are all constantly bombarded with the latest theories, technologies and gadgets and it is very easy to be distracted from the basic principles of good horticultural crop production.  I’m not saying that some of these ‘bombardments’ are not worth thinking about, but I am saying that the highest priorities should always be ‘the basics’ and that these basics fall into two fundamental categories:

(1)  Management of the aerial environment

(2)  Management of the root environment

If we don’t get these two critical environments right, we have very little chance of ever growing our crops to their maximum potential – regardless of how many new theories and gadgets are introduced!

We can expand these two fundamental categories into key areas of concern.

Management of the aerial environment

1.light (too much or not enough?)

2.heat (too much or not enough?)

3.relative humidity (too much or not enough?

Management of the root environment

1.water quality (strive for the best)

2.water volume (too much or not enough?)

3.nutritional balance (macro and micro nutrient supply)

Very recently, a grower was discussing the difficulties he was having controlling a common disease and how many different fungicides he was applying with little effect.  He then went on to outline how difficult it was for him to deliver enough water to his plants as his pump and dripper system was very out-dated and simply unable to keep up with the crops water demand.  It was pointed out to the grower that the irrigation issue was perhaps the first priority however this was dismissed as being too expensive and difficult to deal with right now.

This example highlights a very common issue – we too often dismiss the fundamental and most limiting factors of production and become focussed on ‘Band-Aid’s’ for our crops.

My opinion:





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