Issue 7 2020
Polysulphate - Right people, right place, right time
What’s the catalyst to getting our Polysulphate into use? Often, it’s information. In this Missive we hear from ICL consultant for Latin America, Dr Alveiro Salamanca Jiménez. He describes how by sharing information with the right people, in the right place at the right time, he was recently able to start helping a group of women coffee farmers in Colombia to take action for optimal nutrition of their crop.
Colombian women coffee farmers welcome balanced nutrition advice.
“Too few coffee farmers in Colombia use soil analysis or proper grades of fertilizer. This unbalanced nutrition is causing yields lower than 1.5 tons/ha. Since coffee farmers usually apply fertilizers during October and November, a training day was planned ahead of that for one group, the women belonging to the “Asociación de Mujeres Caficultoras de Pescador (Association of Women Coffee Farmers of Pescador)”.

I held it where all the women live and have their small farms. I wanted to explain the benefits of balanced coffee crop nutrition and present Polysulphate as an alternative to current fertilization plans in the area.

Understanding usual farmer fertilizer use

I learned from these farmers they usually apply 100 g of fertilizer per tree, no matter the source or crop requirement. However, after explaining to them all the factors affecting crop nutrition and how to improve it, they were very concerned about the real losses due to inefficient fertilization and wanted to know how they could better perform integrated crop nutrition management.

Tailoring advice

Taking into account that some of the women already had specific NPK sources, we recommended they apply 30 g of Polysulphate per tree plus an adjusted dose of NPK. From that we expect a better response in terms of growth and yield in the trees mainly due to the calcium supply since this is the third most required nutrient for coffee but rarely applied with soluble sources.

By applying Polysulphate or PotashpluS in coffee plantations we are better meeting the coffee crop requirements for K, Ca, Mg and S. The soils in Cauca, this region of Colombia, have typically low contents of these four elements. Also, I advised the farmers to combine Polysulphate products with more efficient sources of N and P at the correct doses.
The benefits and practicalities of balanced fertilization have been conveyed to a group of women coffee farmers in Colombia in time for them to put their new knowledge into practice.
Take home messages

They were happy with what they had learned about balanced fertilization for coffee, the role of soil analysis and how to better use fertilizers. They agreed that by using less efficient fertilizers they were wasting their money. Some of the farmers already applied Polysulphate as suggested during this season and we will monitor the effects and continue adjusting their fertilization plans.

I am looking forward to the group getting higher yields and better quality of coffee, to improving their profitability, and to contributing to the well-being of these women and all coffee farmers.”

Further reading: Fertilizing Coffee with Polysulphate
Contact us: [email protected]
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Youtube
Mined in the UK, ICL is the first – and only - producer in the world to mine polyhalite, marketed as Polysulphate