One of the factors that most influences the success of a crop is the proper use of fertilizers and how the process is managed. To help producers formulate a proper strategy for soybean and for managing soil nutrients, we talked with Fábio Ono, a researcher in soils and production systems at the MT Foundation.
Portal Agrolink: What does the research show in terms of the best way to choose a fertilizer?
Fábio: the studies conducted are useful for making smarter fertilizer choices. Ideally, the studies you draw on should be regional and take into account local conditions (soil, climate, management, etc.). The state of Mato Grosso is very large, so using the results of a study conducted in a specific region and extrapolating them for entire state or for Brazil is not ideal. For each local condition, in other words, for each region of a state, there are studies with results for determining the proper doses of fertilizers and soil correctives to use, the ideal moment and application method for each certain crop and the type of product to use.
Portal Agrolink: Is soil analysis indispensable?
Fábio: Yes, it is indispensable, because soil analysis allows you to identify the chemical fertility of the soil so that the producer can adjust the fertilization and soil amendments. The key factors in any recommendation of fertilizers or amendments are knowing the farm’s history (how long it has been cultivated, which crops have been cultivated, which managements were adopted over the years, which soil correctives were used, which fertilizers were used, etc.) and determining the current fertility level through a soil analysis.
Portal Agrolink: What method should producers adopt for sandy soils?
Fábio: For sandy soils, you should always mulch with straw, which means that producers will have to plant directly in the unprepared soil (no-till planting) and always use cover crops during the second-crop (e.g., signalgrass, millet, crotalaria, etc.). In sandy soils, cover crops not only protect the soil, but also play an important role in nutrient cycling, which is very important for mobile nutrients (potassium, sulfur, boron, etc.).
Portal Agrolink: Which main elements are indispensable in managing fertilizers and amendments for high performance?
Fábio: Knowing the area’s history very well, monitoring soil fertility through chemical testing, correcting soil pH using limestone, increasing soil carbon by producing straw, balanced fertilization that uses the right fertilizer source and applying it correctly for each type of soil.
Portal Agrolink: What are the consequences of improper fertilization, whether over or under fertilizing? Can improper fertilization cause disease?
Fábio: Fertilization must be balanced, with no excess or deficiency of nutrients. Over fertilizing not only represents unnecessary spending on high-priced inputs, but also can be toxic for the plant, mainly in the case of micronutrients. A plant with nutrient deficiencies may present retarded development, lower grain and fiber production, and higher susceptibility to certain diseases. In the field, we frequently see plants with potassium deficiency that present a higher rate of disease. Plants with potassium deficiency are more likely to contract disease.
The events, which will be held at the farms of SLC Agrícola, will feature lectures and tours of the research areas
Researcher explains how soil management and analysis offer an advantage
Soybean, sugarcane and corn are the crops with the highest impact on Brazil’s economy, according to the latest Agricultural Census.