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The use of a hormone-based foliar biostimulant in processing tomatoes

Smith, P. A., Argerich, C. A.
Acta horticulturae 2019 no.1233 pp. 1-6
analysis of variance, auxins, complement, cytokinins, evapotranspiration, foliar application, gibberellins, growing season, mulches, plant containers, rowcrops, tomatoes, yields, Argentina
The use of plant biostimulant products, frequently of a hormone base, has become a common complement to traditional fertilization programs in row crops. The results of the use of these products varies from one formulation to the next, and between growing seasons. A long-term study of a popular biostimulant trademarked Stimulate based on gibberellins, auxins, and cytokinins was deemed necessary to determine the true effectivity of this product. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of a biostimulant on the processing tomato crop over the course of five growing seasons. Trials were conducted in La Consulta, INTA Experimental Station in Mendoza, Argentina during the seasons 2012-18. Black oxobiodegradable mulch 22 microns thick was used for all trials. Daily water replenishment was done by a single surface tape according to evapotranspiration tank type “A”, adjusted by local K(C). The experimental unit was in all cases a 5-m length of bed; the numbers of replicates were established according to number of treatments, in a totally randomized complete design. In all of the trials the use of Stimulate was compared to the control treatment with no application of any biostimulant. The doses used were in all cases 1 L ha(-1), divided into three foliar applications of 250 mL ha(-1) 35, 55, and 70 days after transplanting, and a pre-transplanting treatment of 250 mL ha(-1, in which the plant containers were submerged. General production parameters were measured at harvest. These parameters were evaluated by ANOVA using Duncan's test at α=0.05. The results obtaine)d in the field showed an average greater production in every season, yet not statistically significant at α=0.05 when analyzed separately. After the results of the growing season 2016-2017 were obtained, showing once again a roughly 13% increase in yield, the data from all five years were pooled and analyzed as a whole, blocked according to trial and season. Evaluated in this way the data showed a statistically significant yield increment between the treatment and control of about 15%.