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What systemic means in plant food and products like insecticides and micronutrients

Systemic. What a word! To some, it may sound sticky. Others may deem it too scientific and gloss right over it. I urge you to do the opposite and explore the benefits of this powerful concept.

Be Progressive! ZAG.

To quote one of my favorite authors Marty Neumer, “When everybody zigs, zag!” Well then, let’s ZAG! Instead of only looking at the current trends, let’s try and seek other approaches to fighting plant disease and pests that may be just as good. Let’s be innovative and invest in processes that we can build on for tomorrow’s future.

The definition of systemic is: of, relating to, or affecting the entire body or an entire organism.

Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a phenomenon whereby a plant gets stimulated to manufacture greater-than-normal amounts of defensive substances. By producing higher levels of these pathogenesis-related proteins, the plant is better able to fend off pressures of weather and disease*.

It makes sense that we should nurture our plants to defend themselves rather than always relying on chemicals and other harsh practices when they are under attack. For example, when we feel a cold coming on, we ramp up orange juice intake because of its vitamin C content. The makers of Natelie’s (a brand of juice that is unsurpassable) must love my colleagues and me around flu-season. We have heard doctors say that it is an excellent way to fend of the virus all our lives. So, as a result, we increase OJ uptake during flu season. And there’s the… An apple a day keeps the doctor away… Simply put, it’s about being PROACTIVE!

Be Proactive!

The Airborne products have a similar premise. It’s about kicking the cold before it even hits you. But in gardening, flowering, and agribusiness, we typically wait for the pressures to hit us and then react. It’s only when we see insect pressures and disease happening that we do something about it. Let’s turn this trend on its head and start looking at things from a proactive standpoint and see where things take us.

Whether you are a backyard gardener or oversee an 800-acre operation, it pays to be proactive instead of reactive. Doling out money time-after-time to remedy the same situation is not productive. Which would you prefer? I would hedge my bets on the former.

I believe that “systemic” is one of the future concepts as growers continue to try and understand the plants from the inside out. Fertilizing on the ground will only take us so far, and I believe that systemics will enable us to go to the next level regarding plant nutrition and plant health. The benefits of coupling systemics with foliar applications outweigh the soil drenching of fertilizers and other harsh chemicals. With regulations cracking down over fertilizers’ over applications and their effects on the environment, where do you think we should look? Think “nature friendly” and “systemic” the next time you’re out and about.

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