Issue 5 2016
 
On Your Marks, Get Set, Soybeans - Go!
Soybean experiment in Brazil
View of the soybean experiment at Luiz Eduardo Magalhães, Bahia State, Brazil (Photo courtesy: Ingbert Döwich)
In just a couple of months time the sporting world’s attention will be focused on Brazil. For two weeks in August, Rio will host the 2016 Olympics and a huge array of sporting contests in ring, track and field.
 
In this edition of the missive we would like to focus the farming world’s attention on some very interesting work that’s happened in the field of soybean production in the Olympic host nation.

Under starter’s orders

IPI (International Potash Institute) conducted a plant nutrition experiment in the soybean Safra 2015/16 season at Luiz Eduardo Magalhães, Bahia State, Brazil.
 
Brazil harvests over 90 million tons of soybeans a year, and has become the leading producer in the world. Productivity is determined to a large extent by plant nutrition.
 
We present here the comparison between these three contestants or treatments:
  •  No K
  • Farmers’ practice (60 kg K2O/ha as KCl)
  • 60 kg K2O/ha + 20 kg S/ha (as KCl +Polysulphate)
And they’re off

Yield results showed a tremendous response to K application, +130% increase in yield. K deficiency symptoms were clearly visible in the soybean without K application.
K deficiency causing yellowing at leaf edges (Photo courtesy: Ingbert Döwich)
Soybean plot without K showing deficiency  (Photo courtesy: Ingbert Döwich)
It was also recorded that a further 10% increase in yield was achieved when applying Polysulphate, which resulted in high profitability and best value for money for the farmer.
Post contest analysis

In farming, as in sport, of course the analysis after the event is just as important as the action. So in answer to the question ‘why did Polysulphate result in the extra yield?” these are the main answers:
 
  • Mostly when K is the same, it’s the S, Mg and Ca that gives extra yield
  • Rarely do farmers apply all the 4 nutrients needed
  • The availability and release of S in Polysulphate is superior to other fertilizers
  • The unique solubility reduces leaching of all nutrients (K, S, Mg and Ca)

Winning combination

Perfect nutrition and timing produces perfect performance. This is certainly the case with this evidence from soybean.

It could also be said to be true for all the athletes getting ready to compete in Rio 2016. While we applaud, honor and admire the competitors’ performances in the Olympics we may also think of the crop athletes in our fields.

As we report here, given the right conditions, care, attention and inputs such as Polysulphate then our crops also may attain personal, even world-beating, bests.
 
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Mined in the UK, ICL is the first – and only producer – in the world to mine polyhalite, marketed as Polysulphate™