Technology helps preserve fertiliser in the face of increased costs and the possibility of shortages

The war’s conflict in Ukraine made the situation of a fertiliser shortage worse and made it more crucial to implement fertilization control strategies that can save up to 20% of applied inputs.

06 September 2022

According to data from the National Association for Fertiliser Dissemination (Anda), Brazil is the world's greatest importer of fertilisers; in 2021, of the more than 40 million tons of input used in the nation, 85% were imported. Russia stands out among them, contributing nearly 25% of all imports into the country. In this scenario, the external environment has alarmed the producers who worry about the rise in prices and the possibility of shortages. By 2022, producers and businesses in the sector should make adopting strategies and tools to rationalize fertiliser use a top priority to address the issue.

Agricultural input prices had already experienced a significant increase in 2021, with cumulative increases that topped 100% as a result of increased demand, a global supply deficit, rising international pricing, and logistical issues. This should be one of the sector's major difficulties for 2022, according to the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Cattle Raising (CNA), which also noted that the upward bias should affect profit margins. 

It is conceivable that the situation would worsen as the war scenario continues. In addition to being two of the world's top producers of potash, Russia and Belarus—allies in the conflict—are significant exporters of other macronutrients including nitrogen and phosphate. The United States and Europe's sanctions against the nations should have a significant impact on a number of markets, especially Brazilian agriculture, which imports around 30% of its supplies from these federations.

"In the near future, it is anticipated that fertiliser costs will increase even more, raising farmers' operational expenses and affecting the cost of agricultural products. We should next have issues getting fertilisers and delivery delays, with dangers of shortages for the upcoming harvests,” says Bernardo de Castro, president of Hexagon’s Agriculture division, a company that creates technical solutions for the agricultural and forestry sectors.

The expert argues that the situation is conductive to the adoption of tools like fertiliser controllers that can optimise the usage of inputs. "This kind of device intelligently controls and automates the delivery of inputs, enabling each section of the agricultural area to receive the optimal dosage of correctives and fertilisers based on its unique qualities, rather than an average dose. This is important because the soil is uneven and growing areas can have great variation in fertilisation needs," explains Bernardo. 

It is feasible to boost productivity with this distribution of georeferenced maps, which are produced based on productivity histories and soil analysis. This is because the soil can effectively capture all the nutrients required for the quality development of your crops. The technology also decreases fertilisation failures and variations, preventing input waste, while monitoring and controlling the entire application. In the case of HxGN AgrOn Fertilisation Control, developed by Hexagon's Agriculture division, for example, there are savings of about 20% in the inputs applied.

"Technologies like this, which allow for the rationalisation of input consumption, are necessary to preserve competitiveness in the face of an uncertain environment like the one we currently find ourselves in. Additionally, they support increased sustainability, a crucial tenet of our agribusiness,” he ensures.


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