Biologicals increase production by up to eight bags of soybeans per hectare, say technicians

The result was confirmed in work carried out by the MT Foundation, which conducts several experiments throughout the state that demonstrate productivity gains and a reduction in common problems in crops with the adoption of bio-inputs.

25.04.2023 | 14:19 (UTC -3)
Dayane Pozzer
The result was confirmed in work carried out by the MT Foundation, which conducts several experiments throughout the state that demonstrate productivity gains and a reduction in common problems in crops with the adoption of bio-inputs.
The result was confirmed in work carried out by the MT Foundation, which conducts several experiments throughout the state that demonstrate productivity gains and a reduction in common problems in crops with the adoption of bio-inputs.

Doubts about the effectiveness and possibilities of important results with the use of biological products in agriculture have increasingly become a thing of the past. Research that considers more sustainable alternatives in pest, disease and nematode control management is a fundamental part of this process and has been carried out at the Mato Grosso Agricultural Research Support Foundation (MT Foundation) for almost two decades. As at other times, experiments carried out by the institution in the last soybean harvest demonstrate an increase in productivity, as well as a reduction in the population of pests, nematodes and greater control of diseases in the crop.

From April 25th to 28th, this topic will be highlighted at the XXIII Encontro Técnico Soja, a traditional MT Foundation event that takes place in Cuiabá, but also broadcast online. On the 27th, researchers will be gathered at the talk show “Applicability of the use of biologicals in the production system”, where they will discuss biological control and sustainability and show research results in entomology, phytopathology and nematology. One of the studies refers to the Biological Project, which has been carried out on soybean and cotton crops for four years, and the Protective Trial, started more recently on the same crops.

Biological Project Results

The dissemination of the strategies and results of the Biological Project, led by the Phytopathology and Biological area of ​​the MT Foundation, is part of its objectives. In the 2022/23 soybean harvest, the work was carried out at the Learning and Dissemination Center, in Sapezal-MT (CAD Oeste), with soybean sowing on October 19th. In this edition, the companies Biocontrol and Lallemand participated with the positioning of their bionematicides, bioinsecticides and biofungicides products in two treatments, biological and integrated.

According to João Paulo Ascari, phytopathologist and researcher at Fundação MT, target spot and cercospora were the most common diseases, in addition to low pressure from caterpillars and stink bugs, and medium to high pressure from whiteflies. Among the nematodes, there was the presence of cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines), root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.), root lesion nematode (Pratylechus spp.) and spiral nematode (Helicotylenchus spp.).

In the integrated management pattern, where seed treatment and foliar applications with chemical products were carried out, in addition to the use of biocontrollers, the researcher details that there was a reduction of up to 40% in the nematode population and 30% in the pest population in relation to control treatment (only with biological inoculant and without management of these problems). Regarding diseases, control was up to 50%, considering target spot and cercosporiosis as the main ones. “In the case of nematodes, even using sensitive cultivars, there was a reduction in the population and in treatments without bioinputs there was a multiplication of the parasites”, adds the specialist.

Consequently, the response in productivity was also satisfactory with the adoption of sustainable products and, in general, the increase reached up to 8 bags of soybeans per hectare. “This was our objective, to show that the use of biocontrollers is a way to achieve more sustainability, increasing the management already practiced and obtaining satisfactory productivity results for the producer and with less impact on the environment”, points out João Ascari.

The Biological Project continues to take place in the cotton harvest, and the proposal is that the treatments be repeated for three more harvests (soybeans and cotton) to verify the consistency of the data, and with space for new partner companies.

Protective Test

Also conducted in Sapezal on soybean cultivation, this trial uses resistance inducers, in addition to three different biofungicides and site-specific fungicides. The role of inducers is to help the plant have a more active defense system capable of defending itself against pathogens more quickly. Biofungicides are responsible for reducing and even preventing the development of threats, and can also act to induce plant resistance.

The target spot pressure is considered high in the region, in addition, the disease inoculum is present throughout the year due to soybean and cotton crops multiplying the pathogen. João Ascari explains that the trial is a step towards this complexity that is emerging in the control not only of target spot, but of Cercospora as well, and seeks to understand what other alternatives are viable in addition to multisites, which are still fundamental in control, how to achieve more productivity and anti-fungicide resistance management.

 The cultivar used is representative in the study region and sensitive to the main leaf spots. With the use of biological tools, disease control reached around 30% compared to the control without fungicides. The increase in productivity was up to five bags per hectare. “The results for soybeans were very good, it drew attention to the way in which biologicals and inducers have contributed to disease control. We are going to invest more energy in this test, replicating it in other CAD’s to prove the regional effect”, explains the professional.

Research spanning almost two decades

In the area of ​​Entomology, work using fungi and entomopathogenic bacteria has been developed by Fundação MT since 2007 to control caterpillars. From 2013 onwards, with the occurrence of Helicoverpa armigera, research intensified in soybean and cotton crops. Furthermore, the institution participated in the development of different virus-based products to control Spodoptera frugiperda in cotton and corn.

To control whiteflies, Fundação MT has carried out work using entomopathogenic fungi and products based on Beauveria bassiana, where it is possible to observe effective control with the integration of chemical and biological. All work takes place in our own research areas in different regions of the State, and in partner areas.

In the last soybean harvests, research focused on controlling whiteflies, Spodoptera eridania caterpillars and evaluating brown stink bug control using egg parasitoids. Caterpillar management work was also carried out using lepidopteran egg parasitoids and integrated pest management, compared to the management carried out by the producer.

In research involving the use of caterpillar egg parasitoids, the result was R$ 42,33 per hectare less in relation to the producer's management and with the same productivity. In bed bug management using bed bug egg parasitoids, productivity was higher in relation to producer management and there was no difference in seed quality. “This shows us that it is possible to adopt biological control, however, it is necessary to monitor the area with a focus on the target pest to identify the correct time to use bioinputs and, if the pest population increases, it must be done use of chemical control”, highlights Lucia Vivan, entomologist and researcher at Fundação MT.

The expert also highlights that pest control does not always result in an increase in productivity, but it is possible to observe a more rational use of chemical products, a reduction in population outbreaks and control for longer periods compared to chemical control. “For the use of biological products, it is important that the producer constantly monitors his area, identifies the first infestations and monitors the pest’s population fluctuation. Integrated chemical and biological management has shown good results in different crops”, he adds.

More information

This entire panorama of the applicability of biologicals in the production system can also be followed after the Soya Technical Meeting, through the MT Foundation application, which receives the content in full. In addition to the institution's specialists, researcher Wagner Bettiol, from Embrapa Meio Ambiente, will also be present, who will portray the importance of bio-inputs in a broad way, with the care that needs to be adopted in their use, the gains for the system, in carbon fixation , nutrient cycling, among others.

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