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                                                 By Norman Wilson, Ph.D.

Are you a winner? The very fact that you are reading this newsletter tells me that you have a real interest in improving your soil and growing your crops with high quality fertilizer products. A winner stays abreast of the latest technologies and products and is ahead of the crowd in terms of evaluating and utilizing those technologies and products.

In previous issues of Vital News, Dr. Ellsworth and I have reviewed several ViTech soil and foliar products and discussed how they are used in high production crop management programs. As you may recall, we approached crop production in a step fashion. The first step was the application of a ViTech soil product to stimulate soil biological activity, improve soil structure, and help insure vigorous uniform stands. The next step was to use ViTech fertilizer and foliar products to grow strong healthy plants that are better able to cope with environmental stresses and take advantage of other production inputs. The final step involves “finishing” the crop in order to achieve high yield and superior quality. In sports terminology, this would be our “end game”.

The finishing step is not necessary more important than the earlier steps but it is closer to our final goal. That goal is of course to produce a high yielding quality crop that provides a reasonable return on investment and labor. Returning to a sports analogy, an athlete can lead most of the race or a team can be ahead most of the game and still loose if they do not finish with the same intensity.

In order to appreciate the importance of finishing a crop, we need to understand what happens during the final weeks of a crop production cycle. During the early and middle portions of a plants growth cycle, almost all the nutrients taken in and energy produced is used to grow roots and vegetation (leaves and stems). In other words, during most of the growing cycle, your crop is building a factory. Only near the end does your crop use that factory to produce what you actually sell. Consider the tremendous physiological changes that must occur as a crop quickly transitions from a “grow” command to a “reproduce and mature” command. This is a complex process largely controlled by interactions of plant hormones. During this relatively brief period, final yield and such quality factors as shelf life, test weight, germination percentage, sugar, oil, or protein content, and seed, nut, tuber, or fruit size are determined. After spending most of the growing season and most of our budget to “grow” the crop, isn’t it reasonable to think that there should be something that we can do to help “finish” it?

ViTech developed ViFinisher specifically for application near the end of a crop production cycle. ViFinisher is a proprietary formulation of “maturity” nutrients, enzyme systems, and organic carbon compounds designed to both stimulate and accelerate the movement of energy (sugars, starch, proteins) from the “factory” in the leaves to the “storehouse” in the seeds, tubers, or roots. ViFinisher is applied with ViTech CALCIUM because increased calcium demand during this rapid maturity phase may outstrip the plants ability to take up adequate calcium from the soil.

ViFinisher should be applied three to four weeks before harvest of fruits and vegetables, physiological maturity of seed crops, or termination of cotton. During this time, ViFinisher enhances the efficiency of natural processes to improve both yield and quality. ViFinisher gives your crop the boost needed to FINISH the job and helps you WIN with high yield and quality produce.