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Multicote Agri in easy- peeling tangerines: long-term trial results (2012-2021)

In 2012, when a new orchard of the tangerine easy-peeling cultivar "Or" was planted in Kibbutz Gvulot, in the south of Israel. a long term Multicote™ Agri trial was set. The trial compared between the common fertigation practice, Nutrigation with Multi-K™ based solutions , and Muticote™ Agri at two rates, providing 50% and 70% of the nutrients supplied by Nutrigation. The results along the years showed that Multicote™ Agri treatments resulted in better yield.  Economical analysis proves the profitability of Multicote™ Agri.

 

Trial Setup

Treatment  
Farmer Practice Liquid Fertilizer KCL Potassium source
Multi-K based Nutrigation Soluble Multi-K™ Based fertilization solution
MCA* 50% Multicote™ Agri solution – covering 50% of the Farmer's practice
MCA* 70% Multicote™ Agri solution – covering 70% of the Farmer's practice

* At the first 3 years, Multicote™ Agri Junior was applied on annual basis. From the 4th and on, Multicote™ Agri formula for bearing trees was applied. 

 

 

4 treatments with 6 repetitions, in randomized blocks.  The trees that were sampled for harvest were from the middle line and in the middle of the 7 trees of the plot. All sampled trees were strip naked from all fruits at harvest time. The whole yield from each tree wase is divided into size categories: small (<58mm), medium- export quality (58<mm<75) and large (>75mm), and then weighed.

Because of Kosher regulations, in Israel  fruit trees can be harvested only from the 4th year after planting. Thus, the 1st harvest was in 2017. Since then, fruits were harvested every year, except 2020, when the Covid-19 disturbed the operations.

In the photo: Harvest and majourment 2021

 

 

 

 

Yield and profit results

To/Ha 2017 2018 2019 2021 Average Yield (To/Ha) Average Revnue ($/Ha) Average improved Revenue
Farmer's practice 24.99 41.93 30.50 35.42 33.21 $391,766 100%
Multi-K based 36.52 33.46 45.85 44.36 40.05 $472,438 121%
MCA 50% 33.22 26.02 41.83 34.75 33.95 $400,563 102%
MCA 70% 36.01 30.90 49.71 44.05 40.17 $473,869 121%

Results of 4 years show considerable advantages for both Multi-K™ based Nutrigation and Multicote Agri at 70%.
Multicote™ Agri treatments presented better Nutrient Use Efficiency: with 50% of applied Nutrients fruit yield was similar to Farmer Practice (KCl-based fertigation).

 

Fruit size distribution analysis (2021 harvest)

To/Ha Fruit weight (Ton/Ha)

Size category

Turnover
$/Ha
Difference from Farmer Practice
$/MT
Average improved Revenue
<58 mm 58<mm<75 75mm<
Farmer's practice 35.4 23% 72% 5% $38,518 - 100%
Multi-K based 44.4 29% 67% 4% $47,910 $9,391 124%
Multicote Agri 50% 34.7 22% 73% 5% $37,832 -$686 98%
Multicote Agri 70% 44.0 23% 75% 2% $47,947 $9,429 124%

Fruit quality analysis showed a clear advantage to the Multi-K™ and Multicote™ Agri 70%  treatments.

 

Economic analysis
The cost of Multicote™ Agri treatment is about 33% higher ( 460$/Ha),  but this is more than compensated by the turnover of  9,439$/Ha. Deeper economic analysis was made, comparing common conventional fertilization method in Israel (KCL based) with Multicote 70% treatment.
The analysis is based on average improved Yield of 21% and based on the Israeli department of Agriculture reports for "Or" Mandarin growers.

 

KCL Based

Multicote Agri 70%

Net Present Value (NPV)

13,090$

18,580$

Balance year

8

7

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

22%

27%

 

 

Multicote™ Agri Application

Multicote™ Agri granules should be applied at the root zone and must be covered with soil to maintain the humidity which is required for continuous release of nutrients. This makes manual application non-feasible wherever labor is expansive or manpower is scarce.

To overcome the problem, Haifa, together with ID David, have launched a dedicated applicator for Multicote™ Agri in orchards.  

Below is a comparison between the profitability of KCl-based fertigation and Multicote™ Agri applied by the new applicator. The calculations consider a 100Ha new "Or" orchard, and include all costs of cultivation operations, irrigation and labor, and assume 21% yield increase with Mulicote™ Agri, which is realistic, as demonstrated in the trial.

Costs of common practice are according to the Israeli agriculture ministry. 
The applicator's cost in Israel is about 28.6K$.

 

Conventional KCL based

Multicote Agri 70% mechanical application

Net Present Value (NPV)

6.5M$

10.5M$

Balance year

7

8

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

22%

27%

The high initial investment in the machinery and the annual investment in the fertilizer costs bring excellent results, with higher Internal Rate of Return. The earlier Balanced Year is a significant factor.

 

Market Price for Or Tangerine- project sensitivity:

*When Market price of Or Tangerine is dropping from 845$/Ton, the applicator project cannot return the investment within a reasonable time.