By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
José Roberto, president of the Brazil National Association of Inoculant Producers and Importers (ANPII) granted an exclusive interview with AgroPages, in which he talked about the use of inoculants in Brazil and their importance for the country's agriculture. He also noted how companies in the sector cooperate with each other and with public research, which will bring advances and new products to the market.
What is the outlook for the use of inoculants in Brazilian agriculture?
Considering the soybean crop, which is the one that deserves special mention regarding the significant use of inoculants in Brazil, in the 2018/19 harvest the average level of adoption of this important practice in Brazil was 82%, equivalent to more than 28 million ha of the total of 36 million ha cultivated with the crop. This rate varies by region and by level of technological investment. In the Southern Region, the average adoption is 73%, while in the Cerrado it is 88%. Even with these high rates, we understand that there is still room for growth in the adoption rate.
Which crops use this technology the most?
Among legumes, besides soybeans, beans, also allow a good relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (N). Although the efficiency of biological N fixation in beans is not at the same level as that obtained with soybeans, the research results are very promising, especially with the co-inoculation, the association of two or more microorganisms, such as genus Bradyrhizobium / Rhizobium + Azospirillum, the most used association in Brazilian agriculture.
Co-inoculation is a practice that has been increasing, as it provides higher N fixation efficiencies with consequent productivity improvements. In the latest survey by SPARK, it found that co-inoculation in soybeans reached 15% of the total cultivated areas. The bacterium Azospirillum brasilense is able to associate with several plant species, not only in the co-inoculation of legumes, but is also considerably used in the inoculation of grasses, such as corn, wheat, rice, and, more recently, pastures and sugarcane. In all the cited crops, there are already several studies that show the excellent performance of this bacterium in the highest plant productivity. To a lesser extent, there is the use of inoculants in various other crops.
What is the importance of inoculants for Brazilian agriculture?
Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) allows the transformation of N2 (present in 80% of atmospheric air) into N that is assimilated by plants to occur at room temperature and pressure, thanks to the action of the enzyme present in the body of bacteria within the nodule. Thus, in soybean, where this process is the most efficient, almost all of the N required by the plant is supplied at a very low cost and in an environmentally friendly manner, which culminates in a more economically and environmentally sustainable Brazilian agriculture. And Brazil is today the country that most uses this excellent biological process, which allows us to always evolve with innovative research in the FBN sector.
How are companies in the sector cooperating to expand the segment?
Despite being a traditional technique, used commercially since the 60's in Brazil, research has been conducted by the companies, in partnership with leading FBN specialists in the country, so that we can continue to innovate and bring producers technologies that can provide even greater efficiencies in the production system. The ANPII, which brings together the main companies in the sector that operate in Brazil, has established agreements with important Brazilian universities, with the aim of joining efforts to provide even more effective solutions for agricultural producers in the coming years. In addition, the scientific community, along with inoculant-producing companies, resellers and cooperatives, are developing farmer educational work that is already showing results, as is clear from the evolution of inoculation adoption.
What research is being done in partnership with the Federal University of Paraná to develop the new inoculant using three strains of Azospirillum brasiliense?
This is extremely groundbreaking research, as it is a joint effort among ANPII member companies to develop an inoculant with new strains of Azospirillum brasilense that is more efficient in nitrogen fixation, and more tolerant to environmental stresses. These strains were selected by UFPR researchers, who identified their potentials and now have the ANPII's partnership to develop a promising commercial inoculant.
How do you project the future of the inoculant sector in Brazil?
Given all of the above, we trust that there will be a large expansion of inoculant use in the country over the next decade, making Brazilian agriculture even more competitive and sustainable.