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Friday, February 21, 2020

Soybean Harvest in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim.

Good morning mate! Here in Brazil we already have a farm closing the harvest in the north of the state of Mato Grosso and they are reaping high averages. In the south of Mato Grosso we are starting to harvest soybeans. In the states of Rio Grande on the south, Paraná, Santa Catarina to the south of Brazil and North and Northeast, we have not yet begun to harvest soybeans. There is a concern with the states that did not start harvesting because they suffered from the lack of rain, the south of Brazil was heavily punished and is still punished with lack of rain. Argentina also had problems with lack of rain. I do not believe that we will harvest the 125,000,000 tons of soybeans due to these states that had problems with lack of rain. Also in the north of Mato Grosso the planting of second crop corn begins, the climate is great and we will certainly have increased planted area. With the appreciation of the dollar, the multi-nationals are closing many corn export contracts, this should cause a small shortage of the cereal in the domestic market in Brazil in the beginning of 2021. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Report From Brazil

By Eduardo Paim

We are having a year with irregular rainfall and very hot throughout Brazil. We have typical El Nino scenarios, even weathermen saying the climate is neutral, say it's not El Nino and it's not La Nina. It rains a lot in the northeast and it dries in the south. We have drought and a lot of heat also in Argentina. They are saying 100% in Brazil here, but it is too early to say how many eggs are in the chicken. States of Bahia, Maranhão, Piauí and Tocantins in Brazil will not plant all the area destined for soybeans, lacked rainfall. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, they think of a reduction in production by about 40%. Southern grapes are dried like raisins and have not been harvested. Jesus bless 2020 for all of you and your family!
In the north of Mato Grosso we started to harvest, is little, so I send more news.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Update on Brazil Soybean planting.

By Eduardo Paim: 

I'm here looking at the weather and wondering when I should send you news of our soy planting. We still do not know if we will have a good grain yield, the rains are undefined and the sun very hot. Many farms are replanting soybeans, it has been planted and due to lack of rain the seeds will die. Soybean planting is not yet 100% complete and this will make the area of ​​second crop corn shrink in Brazil. At this moment I can say that we did not start well! It reminds me of the year 2016/2017, little rainfall and very hot. "It rains in the living room and not in the kitchen"!
I don't see mud on farm roads, just dust. There is little rain here.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Potassium for Crop Production

Originally written for CCA Soy Envoy Blog 

Having spent my time as a CCA Soy Envoy writing about micronutrients, sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus, it seems appropriate to close out the year focusing on potassium. Of the plant nutrients, potassium is part of the big 3nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). When I run soil tests in my area potassium is the most likely to be low, although some soils I work with can be high and stay high. 

Potassium helps plants withstand drought damage. It is also credited with general plant health and preventing lodging. Potassium helps the plant produce starch and transform sugars. This nutrient is also essential for photosynthesis. Potassium deficiency is characterized by yellowing and then tissue death starting at the edges of leaves in both corn and soybeans. This Iowa State University Bulletin has more information on potassium deficiencies. They go into some explanation of causes of potassium deficiencies other than low soil test.

In past years we have seen some drought-induced deficiencies in fields. Fields with good potassium levels to begin with seem to resist that deficiency better. We also thought we saw some compaction-induced deficiencies because of working and planting in wet soil conditions this spring. Several years ago, University of Illinois (UIUC) researchers hypothesized that we do not need potassium fertilizer. Research from other credible sources including the International Plant Nutrition Institute has called the researchers’ premise into question and disproved some of their findings. Emerson Nafziger, Ph.D., also argues for potassium fertilizer in this article.

Potassium is common in our Illinois soils because it is present in the crystal lattice of a prevalent clay mineral, illite. The nutrient seems to move in and out of the lattice depending on moisture. This makes potassium soil testing imperfect, but it is all we have to establish a scientific basis for determining fertility needs.

One reason that we test soils more often than the university recommendation is that it helps us keep better track of potassium. It has been my experience that crops do respond to potassium when soil test levels are below 230 pounds per acres. Ideal levels are considered to be 300 to 400 pounds per acre in Illinois. Potassium is critical to help weather a drought. Levels need to be high because availability goes down when soil is dry.

We do have clients with soils that have not needed potassium fertilizer in twenty years or more. These growers haven’t had any apparent yield loss and the test levels remain high. We also have clients who have low potassium test levels who have benefited from potassium fertilizer. 

One of my clients raised 80 bu/A wheat a few years ago after increasing his potassium fertilizer on that field. We do find that potassium levels sometimes remain low for several years as we attempt to build the nutrient up. We will then have a sudden and unexpected rise in soil test potassium. I will sometimes suggest 100 pounds per acre of potassium fertilizer to prevent wild swings in soil test levels even though soil tests would seem to indicate we can skip a year.   

Iowa State University has endorsed a moist soil test where they do not let the soil dry down. I have no problem with using the moist test, but we continue to use the Mehlich 3 extraction. I am not ready to give up on potassium testing even knowing the limitations of the test. We are going to continue to test frequently and recommend potassium fertilizer on soils that have low soil test levels, making adjustments as needed.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Brazilian Soybean Planting,

November 4, 2019

By Eduardo Paim

Here in Mato Grosso we have many farms with little rainfall. We are looking at the farms being very careful with the soy planting and the moisture that is in the ground. We are already seeing some farms that believed that the rains would come and planted the soybean seeds and lost part of what was planted! I see farms that germination is not good, some seeds are born and some die. Too much rain in southern Brazil, this can hurt the grain crop there too. Now we are looking at how much second crop corn we can plant, considering that soy planting has been delayed due to lack of rainfall! I am also realizing that we are getting about 15 days without rain and very sunny and intense heat. If I'm not mistaken in the 2015/2016 crop it was like that, it was raining a lot and the water didn't enter the ground to retain moisture, soon after there was an interval of 15 or 20 days without rain and very hot heat and there was a big reduction in production. of grain from Brazil.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Planting Progress in Brazil.

By Eduardo Paim:  

Good afternoon friend! Today it rained very well here in Mato Grosso! Surely we will accelerate soybean planting with this rain. It will not take the worry out of our thoughts if we are going to be slow to see another good rain like this, but we have to go and ask God to direct us. To this day there have been few rains and it rains in the living room and not in the kitchen. 

Many growers in the state of Paraná will have to replant because the rains were not enough to save the soybeans planted. In Mato Grosso there was delay for fear of planting and losing!
It's a little bit, but we need attention!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Managing Soil Phosphorous

Originally posted as my September blog as an Illinois Soy Envoy Under the title of  "Three Phosphorus Tests and Which to Use on Your Soil"

Phosphorus was recently in the spotlight as the American Society of Agronomy celebrated Phosphorus Week, September 15-21. It seems appropriate to celebrate the discovery of one of our most important crop nutrients and focus on how to manage it better.

Discovered 350 years ago, phosphorus is the 11th most abundant element on earth. Because it is so plentiful, it would seem it should be one of the easiest to manage for crop production. However, it is not evenly distributed and not always readily available for plant growth. According to Emerson Nafzinger, University of Illinois Extension, soybeans remove 0.75 pounds of P2O5 per bushel of grain. Some of that phosphorus comes from the soil and some comes from added fertilizer. 
The first step to better phosphorus management is testing. Over the years, many tests have been developed to help producers determine if they need to be adding phosphorus fertility to maximize crop production. One of the first universally accepted tests was the Bray P1 test. Ideal P1 levels have been established and the test has been in use since the 1930s, so we have lots of data on removal and ideal levels. P1 ideal level is 70 pounds per acre. Bray P2 uses a slightly more acidic extractant. It was developed to help with application of rock phosphate as a fertilizer. Today, in soils with pH below 7.0, P2 can be used to determine reserve levels of phosphorus in the soil. The Bray tests are colorimetric, which means the amount of light passing through a liquid is measured to determine P levels. 
Mehlich 3 is also a commonly used test for phosphorus. The Mehlich 3 extraction is used to analyze many of our nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and the micronutrients. The test is read by ICP which is a type of atomic absorption spectrometer. Mehlich 3 readings tend to average a bit lower for P, so ideal levels could be adjusted higher, although University of Illinois Extension does not do so. I have run both P1 and Mehlich 3 on many samples over the years and find that the comparison is not always linear. Use whichever you or your lab prefers and use the same test every time. Beware that some labs run Mehlich 3 but calculate a P1 testthis is not ideal.  

Olsen P is another test I use on high pH soils. The calcium in high pH soils can tie up phosphorus and make it less available for plant growth. Olsen gives a better idea about P availability on high pH soils and you should consider running this test if you are in that situation. Ideal Olsen Test is 30 pounds per acre. 

Iowa State University presents a good comparison of the P tests.  
While low soil phosphorus can have a negative impact on crop production, high soil phosphorus is associated with high levels of dissolved phosphorus in our water. When I was matriculating at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), we were taught that phosphorus did not leave the field except by erosion, and movement was not really a problem because it did not affect crop production.

We have since learned that about half the phosphorus that leaves the field is by erosion and the other half is dissolved in runoff and drainage water. The other problem with phosphorus loss is that relatively low levels can cause harmful algae blooms as we’ve seen with Lake Erie in recent years. The phosphorus itself is not harmful for human consumption, but the toxins produced by the algae are harmful. The algae bloom caused by excessive nutrients can also remove oxygen from the ecosystem and cause eutrophication, or the death of animal life due to lack of oxygen. The eutrophication can negatively affect a lot of aquatic life. Some of our most desirable game fish are the most vulnerable. Excessive phosphorus can also interfere with zinc uptake. 
Managing the phosphorus levels in our soils is important to crops and the environment. Phosphorus is already one of the most highly regulated nutrients in the United States. Places like the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Erie watersheds are the most prominent. The regulatory levels of phosphorus may be reasonable enough, but the problem with regulations is that they remove management flexibility for the producer. The target now for more regulation is focused on the Midwest because of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.  Perhaps we can hold back those regulations by responsible management.

Here is a list of steps to take to better manage phosphorus
  • ·       Keep phosphorus test levels in the 70 pound per acre range.
  • ·       Don’t add fertilizer when soil test levels exceed the ideal amount.
  • ·       Placing fertilizer below the surface can be effective in managing losses.
  • ·       Keep soil pH in the 6.0 to 7.0 range.
  • ·       Do not apply manure on snow or frozen ground.
  • ·       In manure systems, keep soil test levels below 300 pounds per acre. 
  • ·       Keep soil loss at or below tolerable levels.
  • ·       Keep sediment on the field using structural and vegetative methods.
  • ·       Soil test often to monitor levels.
  • ·       Use soil tests appropriate for your soils. 
  • ·       Use 4R principles in making decisions about how much phosphorus to apply and when. 

As we celebrate the discovery of phosphorus, we need to understand that levels that are too low can have a negative effect on crop production, but levels that are too high can have a negative effect on our planet. If you’d like to learn more, Pete Kleinman, U.S. Department of Agriculture, gives a good overview in his blog on why phosphorus is needed on farms. The site also has additional resources for added context and perspective. 

Visit to learn how we can help you manage your phosphorous.