Second day of the X Abisolo Forum addresses technological evolution of the sector and market intelligence

Seven lectures brought knowledge and updates on the special fertilizers market on Thursday (06)

07.06.2024 | 15:38 (UTC -3)
Adriana Roma
Photo: Zest Eventos
Photo: Zest Eventos

The 10th edition of Abisolo – Forum and Exhibition, promoted by the Brazilian Association of Plant Nutrition Technology Industries (Abisolo), was held on June 05th and 06th, at Expo Dom Pedro, in Campinas (SP), bringing together content presented by several experts from the special fertilizers industry, as well as exhibitors from the sector. On Thursday, the second and last day of the forum, two more panels discussed the topics “Technological Evolution of the Sector” and “Market Intelligence – Special Fertilizers”. During the two-day event, more than a thousand delegates monitored the contents of mineral, organomineral, organic fertilizers, biofertilizers, soil conditioners and plant substrates.

The third panel featured the professor from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Attila Mógor (in the photo), which presented the “Physiological Aspects of Leaf Absorption of Nutrients”. Mógor addressed the process of absorption of nutrients applied to leaves, a topic of vital importance for agriculture.

The professor showed that absorption goes beyond the leaf cuticles. “The availability of nutrients occurs inside the leaf tissue until metabolization by the cells, in a complex dynamic of the apoplast and its interference with the availability of nutrients”, explained the professor.

Mógor detailed how different formulations influence the speed of nutrient availability, with an emphasis on the physiological processes that promote or limit availability. “Environmental factors, such as abiotic stresses, can also affect the absorption and availability of nutrients applied to the leaves, which is why the use of special fertilizer formulations is essential for effective nutrition”, highlighted Mógor.

The second lecture was presented by the agronomist and professor at the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), Fabrício Ávila Rodrigues, who addressed the topic “Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease Interaction”. The content of the lecture was based on the updated second edition of the academic book “Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease”, by Lawrence E. Datnoff and Wade H. Elmer, translated and edited by the professor, with support from Abisolo.

Rodrigues highlighted the role of nutrition in combating plant diseases. “The plant must be in an adequate nutritional state to withstand the changes that occur in its physiology due to the disease,” said the speaker. He highlighted that the consequences go beyond the plantation. “Diseases affect the quantity and quality of agricultural products, trade agreements, human health and food security, as well as the regional, national and global economy”, warned the professor during the lecture.

He also reinforced that nutrients from fertilizers need to be applied in the correct way, in the correct quantity and at the correct time. “These nutrients need to be dosed, because in inadequate quantities they are also harmful”, warned the professor when mentioning that the role of each nutrient in the disease process must be seen in the holistic context, considering the countless interactions of these elements in the plant tissues, the plant host, the root system and beneficial microorganisms.

Seven pillars for the use of specialty fertilizers and abiotic stresses

Then, the professor at the Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), Sérgio Mazaro, was responsible for presenting the theme “Advances and challenges in the use of biological agents” and presented the seven pillars for success with the use of these inputs, with application cases in different cultures and locations.

According to the professor, the use of biologicals must be guided by seven pillars: good quality products, specificity of the strain of the isolate depending on the intended use of it, method of application to reach the target by the biological, application conditions, compatibility in accordance with other products used in pest and disease management, technologies involved and system management.

Mazaro also addressed advances in the biological input formulation industry and highlighted the problems that often lead to the inefficient use of these microorganisms by producers. The list of advances mentioned by the speaker include market expansion, new products and strains, improved quality and more effective formulations.

Among the challenges, he listed training, improving performance, exploring metabolic potential, system management and sector-specific legislation. “The organic market still has a lot of room for growth. Those who defend only the chemical and those who defend only the biological are not successful. There has to be a synergy between the two”, advised the speaker.

In the last lecture of the morning, “Fertilizers and Mitigation of Abiotic Stresses”, the professor at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), Paulo Marchiori, addressed the importance of nutrition for plant defense. “Whoever wants to produce has to allow the plant to transpire and this is the most important element for its growth and development, since the main stressor is the lack of water”, he stated.

In his talk, Marchiori presented a theoretical concept of what this stress is and how mineral nutrients can help, as well as some case studies. “Maintaining a plant well nourished, with nutrient management, is the first step to avoiding stress situations and this is done through mineral foods, looking at the entire system holistically.

Market Intelligence

The fourth and final panel of the X Abisolo – Forum and Exhibition was dedicated to market intelligence and the use of special fertilizers in different crops. The first lecture was given by Kynetec's LATAM executive director, André Malzoni Dias, who presented the topic “Adoption and Adoption Potential of Special Fertilizers in Soybean Culture”.

Dias shared the plant nutrition panel used by Kynetec, with quantitative data obtained through three months of interviews in more than 675 cities and explained that the market value is calculated through PAT (potential area treated). “We multiplied the area that the tractor passed with the product by the number of applications and then by the amount of product inside the tank. It's the best indicator of technology adoption', explained Dias.

The speaker also stated that the use of fertilizers for leaf application has advanced over recent years. “There are still important dispersions in terms of adoption/intensity in the regions. The foliar fertilizers subsegment has the highest adoption, reaching almost 80%, followed by seed treatments, with 60%, and biofertilizers, with 39%”, listed Dias.

Biofertilizers continue to have great potential for expansion, both in adoption and in the number of treatments carried out per harvest. According to him, the change in the age group of decision-makers also influences this growth and the companies' marketing strategies. The speaker explained that new decision-makers compare prices and want to see the application: 50% of purchases are based on issues such as nutritional supply, plant growth and development, grain formation and filling.

The following theme, “Adoption and Potential of Special Fertilizers in Corn Culture”, was presented by the coordinator of agronomic projects at Céleres, Erickson Oliveira, who based his presentation on three main points: current scenario, market vision of the future and how to participate of this growing market?

The culture's growth perspective is 12% per year for the next few years and, in the speaker's opinion, it is considered a good perspective. “It is a bold growth, also guided by the use of special fertilizers in corn cultivation. This allows us to tidy up the house, think of new strategies, new efficiencies”, said Oliveira.

Photo: Zest Eventos
Photo: Zest Eventos

As for the future, a variable that brings optimism regarding the growth of the market for special fertilizers in corn cultivation is the sown area. Brazil exports 50 million tons per year. To meet demand by 2033/34, it will be necessary to export twice as much, 100 million tons. “This will be viable through the combination of soy and corn, which increases the operation’s margin by 70%. But increasing the area alone is not enough. It needs to increase productivity by at least 15%”, outlined the speaker.

To participate in this growth, Oliveira highlights the need to change strategies. “A market leader needs to focus on innovation, direct customer attention, educate them how to use products. Deliver not only a product, but knowledge”, stated the speaker when commenting that a new player needs to understand the pain points that are not yet met and invest in after-sales, communication and training, a varied portfolio and services.

The last lecture of the X Abisolo Forum was given by the agronomist and professor at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (Esalq), Rafael Otto, who presented the “Adoption and Adoption Potential of Special Fertilizers in Farming Sugar cane". Otto addressed what is happening in sugarcane cultivation in terms of new products, highlighting those that bring greater results and have the potential to be adopted.

According to Otto, the group of special fertilizers, stabilized ones (urea + NBPT) and slow or controlled release fertilizers tend to see a decrease in demand. In the list of products that have high growth, he listed biofertilizers in the planting furrow or cutting of ratoons, organomineral fertilizers (planting and ratoons), foliar fertilizer and algae extract or amino acids in pre-drought management. 

The fourth and final panel of the X Abisolo Forum was closed by a round table with the participation of the speakers from the fourth panel, open to questions from participants, and mediated by the vice-president of the Abisolo Deliberative Council, Gustavo Branco.

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