Faster fruit-fill, improved production & quality of bananas

A change in nutritional strategy using a new, specialist fertiliser blend he had a hand in developing has accelerated fruit-fill, increased production and improved quality for Innisfail banana grower Parv Dhother.

Using the one blend for all nutrient requirements has also been easier than spreading granular fertiliser and mixing straight water soluble fertilisers into a blend for application through the irrigation system (fertigation). Parv and his parents, Shangara and Kashmir, produce bananas over 30 hectares at Garradunga near Innisfail, plus another 10ha on a recently acquired property at Fishery Falls.

Higher quality fruit is sold to chain stores and a portion of their production also heads to markets in Melbourne.
The Dhothers have previously spread a balanced granular fertiliser and blended straight water soluble fertilisers including calcium and potassium nitrate for fertigating the bananas.
Parv said with half the granular fertiliser generally dissolving under morning dew conditions, they previously tried to apply it through their irrigation system, but the magnesium oxide component in the product “turned to sludge’’.

Leaf and soil samples are constantly analysed by Incitec Pivot’s Werribee laboratory in Victoria for the property, which comprises red soils typical of the region, and Parv used the test results to help local Lindsay Rural Agronomist David McDowell to develop the new banana fertiliser blend. The result was the fully water soluble ‘Banana One-Shot’, which can be applied year-round by fertigation.

The one shot fertiliser mix, which is based on the high quality Haifa fertiliser, Poly-Feed, comprises pure plant nutrients and generous quantities of essential microelements such as magnesium, boron and zinc. David said Banana One-Shot refl ected Haifa’s “teaspoon feeding’’ philosophy and offered a higher potassium level and good trace elements. Parv said the family planned to apply 250 kilograms per hectare of the fertiliser per month, but they had never reached this volume.

The family is fertigating every three weeks via a 1500-litre tank that irrigates 8-acre sections at a time.
“It has amounted to 100kgs/ac/month or a 25kg bag/ac/week" according to Parv. David mentioned that these rates supply 400 units of nitrogen and 700 units of potassium, which was the annual requirement for fruit-bearing bananas. Parv said they were previously applying 16 tonnes of fertiliser over 30ha, whereas they were now applying only 1200kgs with Banana One-Shot.

“I haven’t spread any fertiliser for six months. And because there is more K in the fertiliser and it is available immediately, it gives it a big hit straight away and the fruit fills very quickly. The time until the fruit is ready is quick and the quality of the fruit has been better and picked up by buyers, who are looking for good, consistent quality. We are pumping out a lot of fruit. We have never had so much fruit’’.

He said they also had undertaken follow-up soil testing and the nutrients “were still all there in the soil’’. “The Banana One-Shot has got to be the Rolls Royce fertiliser for bananas. It is better than any other soluble fertiliser on the market. There is a similar product, but it is not as good and is too costly. Nothing beats it – you would have to apply foliar sprays,’’ Parv said.


Multi-K™, Haifa’s flagship potassium nitrate brand, is the basis of a whole line of plain and enriched potassium nitrate products, designed for optimal plant nutrition.

Potassium nitrate is a high quality source of both potassium and nitrogen, two essential macronutrients (primary nutrients) for plants. Since a healthy growth requires large amounts of nitrogen and potassium, these elements have to be applied to the soil regulary.