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Wheat: how to handle fertilization from start

For the sowing of winter crops, the technicians recommend planning a balanced nutrition, based on a diagnosis of the needs of the soil and starting with it at the beginning of the crop.



According to the report published by the Buenos Aires Cereal Exchange, a possibility of expansion of 1.5% of the wheat area in Argentina is projected for the 2020/21 campaign in relation to the 6,600,000 hectares implanted during the previous cycle. Despite the fact that the survey also highlights the levels of uncertainty in the producers due to the sanitary emergency, the increase in the area occupied by crops would be promoted by a scenario of favorable climatic prospects during the planting window.

In this context, the technicians highlight the production of winter crops not only because of the margins of productivity and profitability, but also because of the carbon contribution it makes to the rotation, a priority decision to preserve the sustainability of the agricultural system in the long term. In the context of crop planning tasks, especially for wheat, one of the key aspects is the provision of balanced nutrition based on a diagnosis of the needs of the soil and starting at the beginning of the crop. This topic was presented at the conference "Virtual talks for real productions" organized by Rizobacter.

"Proper nutrition management is one of the main factors to maximize current production and improve grain quality," acknowledged Fernando García, a private consultant and free professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Balcarce.

From the point of view of experimentation, García highlighted the results observed in trials of the CREA Sur Nutrition Network of Santa Fe that show the improvement of yields from fertilization with nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and other nutrients in wheat to throughout 18 years. According to the rotation scheme, the yields increased between 70 and 140% compared to crops without fertilization treatment, which allows us to weigh the advantages of good nutrition in projecting crop yields.

Regarding management, the researcher stressed the importance of carrying out batch diagnoses –from soil and crop analysis during the cycle– to identify sites that require the incorporation of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, generally deficient and first-rate need, and what are the other nutrients that should be reinforced. In addition, the availability of information on the state of the soil is essential to define the optimal nutritional source, dose and time of application.

Similarly, the researcher pointed out the advantages of carrying out fertilization at the start of the crop. "Early planting accompanied by good initial nutrition is a significant decision in winter crops, since the early availability of nutrients is vital for the crop to establish itself properly and develop good rooting and number of tillers," said García. .

In this sense, Fernando Sánchez –responsible for the Rizobacter fertilizer line– explained that the decision to fertilize at the start of cultivation “implies providing in a targeted way a quantity of macro and micro nutrients necessary to nourish the seed from the first stages” . As a result of nutrition, "it is possible to improve root development, very important for proper anchorage and early exploration of the soil, and to activate the physiological processes related to plant development," he said.

Basic nutrients

To the question of which nutrients to prioritize to achieve balanced nutrition, García did not hesitate to answer: "N, P, S" (nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, according to its symbol in the periodic table of chemical elements). In a second instance, the replacement of zinc, boron and other micronutrients can also be considered.

In the case of nitrogen, the researcher recommended the application from planting to tillering and then continue with monitoring during the development of the crop to carry out supplementation. "In the market, there are offers of products with improved efficiency and inhibitors that prevent losses due to volatilization, washing and denitrification," he said.

Regarding phosphorus, García suggested fertilization between pre-sowing and sowing by volleys, for which the slopes and the rainfall record must be taken into account. "Regarding products, the use of improved efficiency starters that include various nutrients and have innovative presentations such as microgranulated fertilizers and others, is interesting," he pondered.

In this line, Sánchez pointed out that "the microgranulate facilitates the application of the recommended doses together with the seed, correct positioning of the technology, without generating any type of phytotoxicity." And he added: "The smaller size ensures a quick dissolution of the fertilizer and optimizes the absorption of essential nutrients by the crop, within which phosphorus and zinc are very little mobile and its efficiency of use (EUF) is maximum" .

In the case of Microstar PZ, one of the products offered by Rizobacter, it provides nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur and zinc, while Microstar CMB presents phosphorus, sulfur, zinc, calcium, cobalt, molybdenum and boron.

According to García, the application of sulfur is recommended between pre-sowing and tillering in combination with nitrogen and / or phosphorous. "It can be applied broadcast or online and generates a good residual effect in the soil, especially for the productive benefit of subsequent crops such as second-rate soy," he added.

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