AgroTerra sums up the preliminary results of its production field trials with micronutrients
In spring 2022, AgroTerra began field trials with micronutrients and sowing fertilizer application on 30% of its fields. The technology trial fields, which will be used to assess the effectiveness of the new technology, cover 13,000 hectares. The company expected that sowing fertilizer application and the application of micronutrients would increase production margins by 2-5% when the trials were launched. Results of the spring wheat harvest show that micronutrient treatment contributes to plant growth and increases yields by 3.8%, with a return on investment in micronutrients surpassing 170%.
AgroTerra uses a three-stage testing approach to introduce innovations in production. Under this approach, the company is first testing innovative solutions in small plots at the Technology Development Center of AgroTerra. If the effectiveness is proven, new technology is tested on production fields (such tests are called production field trials at AgroTerra). Innovations can be scaled up to the entire company after successful testing of new technology in production.
Oleg Stolyarov, Director of the Department of Agricultural Technologies of AgroTerra, said what experiments were performed at the company's trial fields:
"We have been testing boron micronutrients for over six years and complex micronutrients for over four years at the Technology Development Center. The results of the small-plot field trials revealed that micronutrients have a positive economic impact. This enabled the company to launch production field trials."
Anton Andreev, Director for Agronomy Innovation, described the distinctive features of the production field trials and highlighted their progress in the 2022 season.
"We are on the second step of testing this technology. We launched production field trials on 63 fields, including those with soybeans, sunflowers, and part of the spring wheat and rapeseed crops. Our goal is to see whether micronutrients and sowing fertilizer application increase the marginality of the production. We use NDVI images accumulated over decades to improve experiment accuracy and eliminate the influence of other factors. NDVI is used to measure the quality and quantity of the green mass of plants in a field. With this data, AgroTerra launches trials on similar areas of the field where the plants develop identically. This allows us to monitor the influence of a single factor, even in field trials covering thousands of hectares."
To evaluate the impact of micronutrients and sowing fertilizer application on margins, the company experts compare treated and untreated areas of the same field, so the harvesting of the field trials differs from the standard process. For example, the experts of the Technology Development Center first identify the control areas in the field and mark them with range poles. The harvesting of both of these areas, along with the rest of the field, then proceeds. Later, elevator experts evaluate the quantity of harvested crops from the control areas, while lab technicians inspect their quality. The findings show the effectiveness of the new technology. For example, spring wheat harvesting results have already shown a considerable economic effect, and the innovation will be scaled up to all the company's fields in the upcoming production season.
Go to https://youtu.be/GhwvNkC5rxE to see the harvesting of field trials with micronutrients.