The banana production is an important part of the global industrial agrobusiness. The largest producers are India and China, whereas the industrial production for export is concentrated in plantations primarily in the Americas.
Banana – important economic crop with high nutritional value
Banana are nutritious, starchy fruits with high mineral contents of potassium and magnesium to ideally supplement the nutrition of humans with these minerals. It originates from the Indomalyan / Australian region and today is cultivated throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
- As the largest herbaceous flowering plant, it has one of the highest potassium requirements, needed for the numerous physiological functions and responsible for sugar and starch synthesis for high yield and quality.
- Bananas also require relatively large amounts of magnesium and sulfur for the carbohydrate synthesis and translocation in stems, fruits and roots.
- It's high nutrient requirement, especially for N, K, and Mg is usually applied in various splits during the vegetation period, avoiding temporally high soil salt concentrations and losses due to leaching.
Banana – very valuable for human nutrition
The banana is one of the most important tropical fruits. Worldwide more than 50 million tonnes of fruit are produced. Banana is considered as very valuable for human nutrition due to its high content of carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Banana cultivation is one of the most intensive crop production systems. Plant protection and fertilization must be perfectly matched to soil-specific conditions to guarantee consistently high yields and quality.
|Nutrient||Amount (mg)||Daily value (%)|
Banana – high nutritional value
The most important nutrients for banana
- Potassium application promotes bunch weight by increasing the number of bunches and fruits as well as the size of the fruits.
- Well-supplied plants can contain >5% K in the dry matter of the third leaf, whereas a concentration of <3% may be regarded as critical.
|No. of hands/bunch||No. of fruits/hands||
- The nutrient magnesium is required for the development of the stem and leaves as well as the synthesis and accumulation of carbohydrates.
- In order to guarantee maximum yields, a minimum level of 0.3% Mg in the leaf dry matter should be targeted. Mg supply can be increased by using only water-soluble forms and by aiming for an optimum cation ratio in the soil.
- The ratio between magnesium and potassium should be ideally 1:4 on sandy and 1:2 on clayey soils.
- Adequate sulfur is required to support nitrogen in the synthesis of proteins and carbohydrates. By supplying S, the uptake and assimilation of any applied nitrogen is maximized thereby improving N use efficiency.
- Banana is generally grown in the humid tropics with typically high annual rainfall and free draining soils. Since sulfur is predominately found in the anion form sulfate (SO4), which is easily leached under such conditions, a regular supply is required to maximize productivity.
- In many soils, a crop’s requirement for S is supplemented by a natural source coming from organic matter. As tropical soils, however, are typically poor in organic matter the S requirement far exceeds the natural supply. Therefore, sulfur-containing fertilizers need to be included in the fertilizer planning.
- The critical concentration of S in banana leaves (leaf 3) is considered to be 0.23%.
- Non-acidifying fertilizers are recommended as the humid tropics favor the development of soil acidity. It is very difficult to correct a soil acidity problem in an established plantation as banana is a perennial crop, which prefers a soil pH only in the slightly acid range of 5.5-6.5.
- ESTA Kieserit has no influence on the soil pH and is therefore an ideal sulfur source for banana.
The nutrients applied to banana should be calculated based on the target yield and the uptake per tonne of yield.
Recommendation for soil fertilization
Recommendation for a yield level of 10-50t/ha:
- 520-2630kg/ha MOP (60er Kali) to secure the potash supply
- 68-336kg/ha ESTA Kieserit to secure the magnesium and sulfur supply
- 400-600kg/ha ESTA Kieserit in the case of acute deficiency
Application should be in several split timings (12-25) to avoid short-term high Cl accumulation in the soil through MOP application and to reduce losses during periods of high rainfall.