Teaching and Knowledge transfer
Insights into Brazilian agriculture
Regions with widespread magnesium weaknesses in soils have been identified in Brazil. On the verge of the 2nd International Symposium on Magnesium in São Paulo, Brazil, early November 2014, Dr. Daphne Jost, K+S KALI GmbH, Kassel, on behalf of IAPN talked to scientists of the University of Sao Paulo (USP/ESALQ) and University of Lavras (UFAL) about the current situation of magnesium nutrition in crop plants.
Brazil´s agriculture is powerful. The country is a top producer and exporter for products like coffee, sugar cane, orange juice, meat or soybean and cotton. This role in world agriculture has developed during the last 50 years. In 1960, Brazil still imported the major share of its food, while in 2014, the country exported food equivalent to US $ 83 billion to 212 destinations all over the world.
Large regions with magnesium deficiency
This immense food production of course depends on the use of fertilizers, which in Brazil increased from less than 5 m tons in 1970 to about 30 m tons in 2012. Generally in plant production the nutrition with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is closely monitored. But plants cannot produce high yields if one growth factor, such as magnesium is lacking. In Brazil soils are extremely different and large regions with magnesium weaknesses have been identified; for this reason farmers should be aware of the importance of magnesium in mineral plant nutrition. Because of a widespread magnesium deficiency a more careful and intelligent nutrient management is important to support a more efficient use of limited resources in fertilization. Farmers should not disregard the importance of magnesium in plant biochemistry, as problems in mineral nutrition may set off a chain reaction of damage to the interior metabolic functions of the plant. For further information, see: Magnesium in Crop Production, Food Quality and Human Health by Antonio Roque Dechen, USP/ESALQ.
Today USP/ESALQ is one of the most renowned institutions in science, technology, teaching and extension for Brazilian agriculture and has cooperation agreements with other Brazilian and international institutions, playing a key role in different areas of agriculture research in Brazil and worldwide.
Interview with Prof. Godofredo Cesar Vitti
Prof. Godofredo Cesar Vitti, USP/ESALQ, elucidates central aspects of Brazilian agriculture, focusing on fertilization. He describes the necessary corrective practices for soils to plant crops and hands out advice how to fertilize the main crop soybean: there is a fundamental difference between the agriculture in Brazil and the rest of world.
In his presentation at the 2nd International Symposium on Magnesium in São Paulo, Prof. Vitti described in detail the aspects and conclusions of the research on magnesium of his working group at USP/ESALQ. The yield potential of soybeans in tropical regions is limited by magnesium deficiency. The supply of magnesium by liming has not been efficient, due to its inconsistent use by farmers. Research results show that foliar application of magnesium in small doses using soluble sources during growth stages at the time around flowering enhances the photosynthetic rate. Presentation
University of Lavras – research on fertilization in coffee production
Strongly involved in research activities, Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) has significantly contributed to advances in scientific knowledge, as well as to the development of new technologies and processes in strategic areas for the development of Brazil.
Interview with Dayane Meireles da Silva
During the discussion with IAPN, Dayane Meireles da Silva of UFLA characterized mineral nutrition and application of fertilizers in coffee production. Previous studies have demonstrated the role of the nutrition with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium on crops. However, if these elements predominate, other elements such as Magnesium that are as fundamental as these tend to be forgotten.
To the knowledge of the UFLA research group there have been no studies showing the adverse effects of Mg‐deficiency on the growth of Coffea arabica L. seedlings. To address this research gap, their work had intended to evaluate growth parameters of two cultivars of coffee seedlings, subjected to Mg‐deficiency. In a presentation at the 2nd International Symposium on Magnesium in São Paulo, Dayane Meireles da Silva visualized impacts of magnesium deficiency on the growth of two cultivars of coffee. Presentation