With the sowing season once again upon us, many farmers will be asking themselves if there’s
anything different they can do with their soil preparation programme before planting to increase
yields and crop quality.
With grain prices high, a great growing season lies ahead for growers in this industry, crop estimates
indicate the probability of the biggest maize planting in South Africa’s history, and an effective soil
preparation programme is crucial to ensure high yielding crops. Linked to the soil preparation and the
seasons planning is the consideration that while prospects for the maize crop of 2011/12 are very promising,
high fertilizer prices and probably limited availability necessitate that steps need to be taken to maximise
“With demand increasing for meat and dairy products and prices projected to climb steeply over the next decade
it’s not only the agricultural sector that will be benefiting from better crop yields but livestock farmers
will benefit from better feed as well. The healthier eating trend is driving prices ever higher for dairy
products and projections for the next decade are showing incredible growth in the dairy and meat industries,”
says Randolf Meyer for Advanced Nutrients, a developer of scientifically developed soil enhancement products.
The worldwide expectation of higher consumption is good news for farmers who, with the right production levels,
can expect to increase their outputs and capitalise on the higher prices and demand.
“With fertilizer prices high, growers need to maximise the cost effectiveness of their land preparation programmes.
Quality such as protein/minimum screenings and so forth are
vitally important and the need for growers to do a ‘full’
programme, incorporating granular products, soil preparation products and foliar products is essential,” says Meyer.
Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium remain a requirement for all commercial farmers for ‘plant’, ‘side-dressing’ and ‘top-dressing’
applications. As far as Nitrogen goes, Urease inhibitors, nitrification inhibitors and impervious coatings have been utilised with
some success but remain economically elusive for many farmers. The idea is to improve the overall utilisation of applied nitrogen
to produce more efficient rates of plant growth with less energy expenditure such as fertilisers and fuel.
For Meyer this is where Advanced Nutrients excels in developing scientific solutions to soil preparation requirements.
“We’ve developed a full programme of soil preparation products in conjunction with farmers, including products for the management of nitrogen.
These products employ a combination of chemical, biological and physical approaches to obtain greater value for money by improving fertilizer
utilisation efficiency. This desirable effect has been specifically targeted to improve profits on low fertility soils and further provides
‘down stream’ value to growers and the wider community by reducing the environmental impact of plant nutrition,” says Meyer.
“Our nitrogen management products make use of a proprietary organic complex that contains a unique ratio of oxidative functional groups and
cofactors of biological metabolism. These include humic acid, fulvic acid, ulmic acid, amino acid, melanins, peptides, polysaccharides,
vitamins and minerals. Stabilising and binding technologies
are also employed to ensure coating integrity and reaction timing.”
“Whilst the chemical, physical and biological properties of the enhancing catalysing coating cannot be measured in isolation, it should be
viewed as containing an extremely high energy formulation that bonds with the urea to form an organo-urea complex. Independent research has
shown that ‘free radicals’ contained in the coating assists in improving efficiency via hydrogen bonding and forms a more stable complex
than the original materials,” says Meyer.
Naturally, higher quality soils lead to higher crop yields and quality. This is especially relevant for higher international growth trends as
international trade (imports and exports) makes up a large proportion of total production.
The South African population more than doubled from around 20 million in 1970 to about 47 million people in 2008. However, physical agricultural
output only increased from around 18 million metric tons in 1975 to 28 million metric tons in 2006. The burgeoning South African as well as world
population is expected to demand much higher outputs in a much shorter time over the next few years, meaning physical production may not be
sufficient to keep pace with population growth.
“A properly implemented full programme with the right products is critical for farmers wanting to increase and improve their yields to take
advantage of the growth across all agricultural sectors, whether it be for human or animal consumption,” concludes Meyer.
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