December 16, 2015

Knowledge grows better yields

A valuable member of the Yara family since 1998, Barry Bull holds the title of Agronomic Competence and Training Director. As a Yara Agronomist, Barry meets with farmers, sales people and distributers to share, acquire and grow knowledge in the spirit of better business and a cleaner environment. Watch his video.

The Citrus Trials

Some ten years ago, Barry and Specialties Manager Alexandre Macedo teamed up with Dr. José Antonio Quaggio, a citrus expert at the renowned Instituto Agronômico de Campinas (IAC) in São Paulo, Brazil, to demonstrate how the application of YaraLiva Calcinit can boost citrus yields. ICA has a strong track-record of contributing to the development of Brazilian agriculture, where oranges are a major cash crop. In fact, the country produces about 75 percent of the world’s orange juice.

At first, field tests did not yield the sough-after results. Not taking no for an answer, the partners continued their efforts. Yara’s research team in Hanninghof, Germany, was called in to help adapt the crop nutrition program to local conditions. Eventually, the trials showed outstanding results: together with the ICA and Dr. Quaggio, Yara was able to demonstrate a yield increase of at least 25 percent as well as an improving in the pH balance of the soil. Success was achieved thanks to collaboration and knowledge sharing.

The partnership allowed Yara to clearly demonstrate to farmers and distributors the benefits of YaraLiva Calcinit in combination with Yara’s crop nutrition programs. This resulted in a considerable expansion of oranges grown in the region, now covering about 100,000 hectares in the state of São Paulo alone.

“At first, Dr. Quaggio was skeptical about the use of calcium nitrate in citrus, so Alexandre and I took him to our colleagues in Florida, who were getting good results from the application of YaraLiva. This helped convince him that we should start a trial in Brazil.”

- Barry Bull

Sharing knowledge

Today, Yara agronomists continue to share these important learnings with thousands of citrus growers around the world – helping them increase their yields and profits substantially. The successful citrus trials in Brazil brought forward new information and helped raise Yara’s profile among citrus growers worldwide. Dr. Quaggio has become a strong advocate of the use of calcium and nitrate nitrogen in citrus crops. He has published many scientific papers on the topic.

“Here in the Agronomical Institute we are very happy with the way the partnership with Yara is performing. It has lasted ten years and we hope that it will last for decades more,”

- Dr José Antonio Quaggio

Putting knowledge into practice

Citrus growers from Australia to the U.S., India and Vietnam benefit from Yara’s relentless drive to innovate and optimize crop nutrition programs . Our ever-expanding knowledge base is also making a difference with growers of other crops, including potatoes, coffee and dragon fruit.

Potatoes in Australia

In collaboration with a local Australian potato grower, Yara implemented a program that produced good initial improvement. And, after some adjustments, brought even better results. Working in close collaboration, and putting knowledge into practice, allowed the farmer to gain a better understanding of his crop and land, and, according to the farmer, it helped him save his farm.

Dragon fruit in Vietnam

Together with other agronomists, Barry Bull interviewed about 15 Dragon fruit growers in Vietnam and developed a tailor-made nutrition program for the crop. The program which looked at total fertilizer input and analyzed the nutrient balance, was able to demonstrate that it was possible to use less fertilizer and achieve better yields, larger dragon fruit, while at the same time generating significant savings. Farmers were able to get four dollars back for every dollar spent. Because of this success, 70 percent of the growers in Vietnam entered the Yara program.

“It’s quite simple, if we’re not developing and sharing knowledge we become stagnant as a company. By sharing knowledge, we grow the confidence of our staff in the field—this increased confidence leads to more sales.”

- Barry Bull