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Russia is ready for soil analysis

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Russia is showing increasing interest in using soil research as a ‘tool’ to increase production. Several recent workshops in Moscow for farmers and advisers provided many new insights.

Workshop about soil in Moscow.Currently, Eurofins Agro in Russia only offers nutritional analyses. However, for some time now, manager Nadezda Bijman in Russia has seen many opportunities to also analyse soil and thus take agriculture in Russia to a higher level. Feed value research is carried out for the most part by using the NIR technique. This same NIR technique can also be used to analyse soil. More than 20 soil indicators can already be offered using the NIR technique. These indicators can be converted into fertilisation advice and general guidelines on soil structure, water management and yield potential.

IPNI

Prior to the workshops in Moscow, several discussions and a company visit by a delegation from Eurofins Agro took place. Arjan Reijneveld, Product Manager at Eurofins Agro in the Netherlands, began his working visit with a discussion with the Vice President of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). This organisation is keen to help Russia take a step further by providing knowledge and information. This could prove to be a good cooperation partner for Eurofins Agro. Discussions in this regard will be continued at a later stage.

Company visit

Among other things, the Eurofins Agro delegation visited a dairy farm. The majority of the farmers give a standard quantity of 100 kg N and 100 kg P. Whether this was necessary or not was given little consideration. For alfalfa (Lucerne), for example, they sought the most suitable nitrogen fertilisers, while alfalfa actually requires hardly any nitrogen (N). Phosphate (P), but also potassium (K) and sulphur (S), is often of greater importance. Many farmers in Russia are keen to improve production, but the knowledge and insights to achieve this are not always available.

Workshops

The workshops in Moscow had partly the same set-up as the ‘Expert Days’ of Eurofins Agro, which are well known in the Netherlands. Many (potential) customers become acquainted with innovations in this way. Naturally, the meetings also have a customer-binding and sounding board function. The feed value research is well established internationally. The number of Russian provinces where crop research is offered by Eurofins Agro increases each year, as does the turnover. The crop research is used for optimising the rations for dairy farms.

Achieving improvements

The detailed information given to the users by nutritionist Peter van Dooren was very much appreciated. The entire team has achieved good results in the Russian market in recent years with the feed value research. According to Reijneveld and Bijman, the same efforts will certainly be needed to establish soil research firmly in the market. On many farms, the production of maize is around 8 tonnes per hectare. This provides scope to increase yield and quality. Just identifying whether you really need phosphate fertilisation or whether to invest in potassium, boron and/or zinc is very worthwhile.

Savings of 70,000 euros

During the workshops, Arjan Reijneveld gave an example of optimisation by FarmFrites in Poland, which has carried out trials over the last three years. The introduction of the soil research of Eurofins Agro to this company produced savings in fertilisation of 70,000 euros. This example could was of considerable interest to the farmers participating in the workshops. However, insight does not automatically lead to less costs. The costs can be higher, but this brings higher production with it.