Horticulture: a market demand to satisfy

An ever-demanding market and the necessity to produce quality food compel farmers to have effective technical means, which are able to respond to an increasing consumption without compromising consumers' health and the environment.  

The importance of horticultural and fruit production in Italy

According to data collected by Eurostat, Europe (28 countries) produced about 12% of fruit and vegetable global production in 2018 (47,9 million tons of fruit and 57,8 million tons of vegetables). Spain and Italy are the leading producers in the European horticultural sector (9,8 e 6,9 million tons respectively); the two markets represent about 34% of the total production in Europe (46,8 million tons).

Also, in 2018, in EU, tomato was the most produced horticultural product (16,7 million tons) followed by onion (6,3 million tons) and carrot (5,3 million tons). As regards fruit, Spain (14,2 tons) is in the lead, closely followed by Italy (10,5 tons) and Poland (5,84 tons) [1].

Italy, along with Spain, is the main producer and exporter of fruit and vegetables in Europe. Thanks to its climatic diversity, it offers a wide range of products; it is highly regarded for the conventional agriculture of apples and pears in areas with moderate temperatures, and it is well-known as a major producer of stone fruits and high-quality horticultural products such as tomatoes and eggplants.

[1] Source European Statistics Handbook – FRUIT LOGISTICA 2019 accessed on 10/03/2021

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Table 1: reference company systems. Source Ismea

Over the last few years (2014-2018) our Country has produced up to 10 million tons of fruit and 7 million tons of vegetables. A third of fruit and 12% of vegetables are exported every year (Germany, France and Austria are the main destinations). 15% of horticultural production is intended for international export. Italy, in fact, is the ninth exporter of fresh vegetables, with 1,5 billion of euro reached in 2018 by exporting tomatoes, salad (in particular, ready-to-eat salad) and brassicaceae as main crops.
(Source: Ismea data processing of UN-Comptrade ITC)

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Chart 1: production trend (tons) and areas (ha). Ismea source on Istat data
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Chart 2: % production and areas

Whereas, if we take into account the export of processed vegetables, Italy occupies the 4° position with 2,2 billion of euro in 2018 and 2,4% annual growth between 2014 and 2018. In this case, the most representative products are pulps and peeled products (42%) purées and pastes (29%). Germany, United Kingdom, France, Usa and Japan are the countries where the export is focused.
(Source UN-Comptrade ITC)

Cerea FCP for a quality horticultural production

The range of products chosen to be applied to the horticultural production includes four macro-categories: mineral e organo-mineral microgranulars, organo-mineral granulars, powdered and liquid microelements and biostimulants.

  • Power: the Power line is characterised by microgranular formulations (0,7-1,7 mm or 1-2 mm) of mineral and organo-mineral fertilizers. The family offers a wide range of products, whic can be used both in organic and conventional farming. Their granulometry allows an application during transplant directly in contact with the seedlings or, in the case of potatoes, in contact with the seed or with the seed tuber (starter technique) without causing phytotoxicities. Moreover, it allows a reduction in dosages and respects the environment.
  • Fert and Fert Premium: range of organo-mineral granular products with high-quality organic matrices and high nutritional value. They contain humic acids which act on the soil by increasing the mobilization and absorption of nutrients. The organic matter present in the products enriches the soil and enhances its structure. Also, in the Fert Premium line, the potassium contained in the formulation comes from sulphate, ideal for those crops sensitive to the presence of chlorine.
  • Reactive: this family is composed by liquid and powdered products suitable both for fertigation and foliar treatment. They are characterized by the presence of meso and microelements, they help to prevent damages due to nutrient deficiencies and to provide plants with a balanced nutrition. In addition, some of these products, besides being allowed in organic farming, contain carboxylic or humic/fulvic acids which help to carry nutrients to the plant, increasing their absorption.
  • Futura: line of liquid products containing organic active substances with a stimulating action. They activate the physiological processes and the natural defence mechanisms of the plant, they favour root growth, thus increasing the absorption of nutrients and help the plant to tackle situations of abiotic stress. The biostimulants of the Futura family contain aminoacids, algae extracts and humic/fulvic acids.

Field trials on the potato "Novella di Siracusa"

In the province of Siracusa, the potato "Novella di Siracusa", a Sicilian potato belonging to P.A.T. (Prodotti Alimentari Tradizionali, i.e., "Traditional Food Products"), is produced. It is characterised by a yellow pulp, a yellow smooth and thin skin with an elongated oval shape of medium-large size. The average yield of this potato is about 330 q/ha, and the production cycle lasts from November (sowing) to March (harvest).
In the course of the 2019/2020 agricultural campaign, a field trial has been carried out in order to assess two products:

  • Super Power Extra, a micro-granular product of the Power family;
  • StimUp, a biostimulant of the Futura line.

Product description

Super Power Extra, a mineral NP microgranular compound fertilizer (granulometry between 0,7-1,7 mm), is characterized by a high content of soluble phosphorus and a 1:3 nitrogen (ammoniacal)-phosphorus ratio. The product should be applied during the sowing phase, in direct contact with the seed.
Moreover, Super Power Extra contains Calcium, Boron, Iron and Zinc, wich are fundamental in the first development stages of the plant.

StimUp is a bioactivator of the rhizosphere with humic and fulvic acids and a low-molecular-weight. It stimulates the natural production of hormone-like substances, increasing the cell division of apical meristems, promoting root development and the tuber formation.

Materials and methods

  • Company located in the area of Porto Commerciale Augusta
  • Area: 1 ha
  • Period of sowing: November 2019
  • Electric conductivity and irrigation water pH: 1800 µS/cm, pH 7.3
  • Average water hardness: 120-150 ºF
  • Na average value > 300 mg/l, bicarbonates average value> 200 mg/l

Treatments
Cerea FCP field trial:

  • Basal application with organo-mineral product with a high content of phosphorus
  • Localized fertilization in furrow with 40 kg/ha of Super Power Extra 
  • StimUp at sowing, dosage of 100 ml/hl
  • StimUp foliar treatment with 100 ml/ha during tuber formation

Control:

  • Basal application with  organo-mineral product with a high content of phosphorus
  • Fertigation with biostimulants (algae, humic acids) through sprinkler

On February 21st, 2020 the first data were collected, showing the following results:

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Table 2: results of data collected
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Figure 1: Cerea FCP protocol plot (photo 21/02/2020)
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Figure 2: Control protocol plot (photo 21/02/2020)
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Figure 3: root development in Cerea FCP field trial
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Figure 4: root development in Control

In Cerea FCP field trial, an optimal root development, with an increased growth of root hairs and a greater quantity of tubers (10 + 4) were observed, even though calibre and size were not completely homogeneous. Whereas, despite phenomena of morning frost, the foliar system had a balanced development, with a more globular and compact plant's habit, a thick leaf blade of a bright green colour and a greater stem section.

In the Control trial, the root system developed well, even if the presence of root hairs was inferior. The quantity of tubers was lower too (9 + 1), but they were uniform and homogeneous in size. The foliar system had an optimal development, although the percentage of damaged leaves due to frost was slightly higher than in Cerea FCP field trial. The stem section was less developed too and the plant's habit was more open and less compact, with leaf blades of regular thickness and colouring.

In April 9th, 2020 harvesting was carried out. During this phase, other tests were performed (10 m2 plot), as reported in Table 3. 

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Table 3: data during harvest of Cerea FCP and Control field trial
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Figure 5: Cerea FCP field trial harvest
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Figure 6: Control harvest

Conclusions

The data collected and the observations made show that the plants of Cerea FCP field trial, fertilized with Super Power Extra and StimUp at sowing, had a major development of the root system resulting in a big and compact plant. The tubers at harvest showed a greater weight and a uniformity in caliber. Even if the gap was slightly wider as compared to Control, the marketable yield per hectare has proven to be greater thanks to the action of StimUp during tuber formation. The product enhanced their elongation, thus allowing to further reduce waste. Furthermore, the plant has suffered less stresses from frost, showing a minor damage and a faster recovery than Control.

The field trial points out how a correct fertilization at sowing (starter technique in furrow) and the use of a biostimulant on root development promotes a homogeneous growth, a greater resistance of the plant, an increase in tuber formation and an enhanced qualitative and quantitative yield per hectare.

Organic farming: a new challenge for the future

The European strategy “Farm to Fork" aims at reducing of 50% the use of pesticides, diminishing of 20% the employment of chemical fertilizers and, at the same time, increasing the agricultural land for organic farming.

Organic farming in Italy

The 2020 Report of Sinab (System of National Information on Organic Farming) registers an increase in the soil for organic crops of 2% as compared to 2019. Thus, in the last 10 years, Italy has reached 1.993.236 hectares with an increase of 79%, and a number of farmers equal to 80.643, registering a 69% increase. Only in 2019 the incidence of organic farming in our country has reached 15,8% of the national agricultural land. These data not only confirm the importance of organic production, but also the positioning of Italy above European average (in 2018 equal to 8%).

The crops that represent more than 60% of organic farming in our country can be divided into three main categories: pastures (551.074 ha), fodder plants (396.748 ha) and cereals (330.284 ha). Also, organic agricultural lands of olive trees (242.708 ha) and grapevine (109.423 ha) are worth mentioning.

Among the regions with the highest numbers of organic farmers we may find Sicily with 10.569 unities, followed by Calabria with 10.576 unities and Apulia with 9.380 unities. Other regions such as Marche and Veneto in the past year have registered an increase of 32% and 13% respectively.

Also, the consumption of organic products has risen by 4,4%, surpassing 3,3 billions of euro (resource ISMEA). The main products are those for the fresh market: vegetables (+7,2%) and fruit (+2,1%). Moreover, during lockdown, there has been a considerable increase in the purchase of organic flours of 92%.

Frome these data, it is evident that we are heading to a new conception of food production, which, as a consequence, is also reflected in the fertilizer production industry.

In order to help achieve the objectives defined by the EU, Cerea FCP would like to offer to the farmer a range of products for organic farming. Thanks to our R&D activities, we have worked intensively to obtain effective organic formulations which guarantee a top-level vegetal nutrition.

Grow well to eat better

The organic line developed by Cerea FCP includes products divided into three main categories: granular/pelleted, microgranular and liquid:

- Organic: it gives the name to our family of granular products for organic farming. We have developed organo-mineral and organic formulations of high quality and ideal for basal application and top dressing for all crops.

They are characterised by the presence of organic nitrogen of organic origin which ensures a slow release of the element in the soil, avoiding leaching and guaranteeing a constant intake over time. Moreover, they provide organic matter and microorganisms which enrich the soil and improve its structure.

- Power: within the line we may find products allowed in organic farming. They are organo-mineral formulations based on raw materials of high qualitative value and in microgranular forms, ready to be applied in small dosages and ideal for the starter technique at sowing or transplant. Their granulometry is significantly lower than in other granular products, thus allowing an application directly at sowing in low dosages and without causing phytotoxicities.

-Futura: this family is composed by special products, mainly liquid, which act as stimulators within the plant. They are based on meso and micronutrients linked to natural molecules (e.g. amino acids or humic acids), that stimulate the physiological processes of plants, promoting their growth and productivity, increasing their tolerance to abiotic stresses and a more efficient use of fertilizers (producing more food, while employing fewer resources).

Projects involving our products

Cerea FCP products have been at the centre of degree theses or projects with the University and Technical Institutes. Various tests were carried out and, as a result, we had the opportunity to evaluate once more the effectiveness and the application of our formulations.

Here we will show you the thesis of a student of the Agrarian Institute based in Buttapietra (VR) during the 2019-2020 campaign. The product considered was Power BioAger, an organo-mineral microgranular formulation allowed in organic farming. The following test was performed on organic durum wheat in Asparetto di Cerea (VR). The plot was subdivided in three areas where three types of different applications were tested. Two plots were fertilized with the starter technique, a method that allows the direct contact of the seed with the fertilizer. This is possible because the specific weights of the seed and of the microgranule are very similar, thus ensuring a homogeneity between the quantity of seeds and of the fertilizer applied.

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Figure 1: subdivision of the plot considered

Field trial 1 is represented in green on the left: here, Power BioAger was applied in a dosage of 100 kg/ha in direct sowing.

The light blue area represents the Control trial, following our company nutritional protocol (no fertilization at sowing).

Lastly, the red area on the right shows Field trial 2, that is the application of 50 kg/ha of Power BioAger in direct sowing.

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Figure 2: loading of the hopper with a mix of seed and microgranular Power BioAger
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Figure 3: starter technique at sowing

Previously, an analysis of the soil has been carried out by a credited laboratory, showing the following results:

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Figure 4: Soil analysis report

In the table below, the application period and the products employed in all three plots are reported. The difference between the Control trial and Field trials 1 and 2 is evident only at sowing, when no fertilizer was applied on the Control, while on the Field trials were applied different quantities of the same organic fertilizer (Power BioAger), as previously mentioned.

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Table 1: application periods and products employed on all three plots

The pictures taken forty-seven days after sowing showed the germinated wheat and its root system, where significant differences were found between Field trials and Control.

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Figure 5: Witness roots, company's nutritional plan
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Figure 6: Roots of Field trial 1 plants, 100 kg/ha of Power BioAger
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Figure 7: Roots of Field trial 2 plants, 50 kg/ha of Power BioAger

Afterwards, the heights of 10 plants were measured at earing for each trial and the number of ears per square meter were counted. Subsequently, during harvest, an estimation of yield per hectare of all three plots considered was made and these were the results: 26 quintals for the Control trial, 32 quintals for Field trial 1 and 36,5 quintals for Field trial 2 (chart 3).

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Chart 1: n° of ears
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Chart 2: height (cm) of wheat ears at harvest
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Chart 3: yield per hectare (ql/ha)
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Table 2: number of ears per mq
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Figure 10: Control height
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Figure 11: Field trial 1 height, 100 kg/ha of Power BioAger
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Figure 12: Field trial 2 height, 50 kg/ha of Power BioAger

At a later stage, Cerea FCP agronomic laboratory carried out analyses in order to calculate the weight of a thousand seeds (g) and the hectolitre weight (kg/hl).

The humidity of wheat at harvest was registered at 17%. Wheat was then dried obtaining a percentage of humidity equal to 12%, with a loss of product of 3%.

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Table 3: Weight of seeds, hectolitre weight and yield per hectare
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Chart 4: weight (g) of 1000 seeds
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Chart 5: hectolitre weight (kg/hl)

Conclusions

From the results obtained, it follows that, with the use of Power BioAger in the starter fertilization at sowing, higher yields per hectare with a greater production quality were registered: a higher weight of seeds, a major hectolitre weight. As regards the vegetative growth, it was observed that the radical system was more developed, the height of plants was higher as well as the number of ears per square meter (twice as much as in Control and Field trial 1).

The dosage per hectare which gave the best results in terms of yield was Field trial 2 (36,5 ql/ha). In Field trial 1 (100 kg/ha) crop conditions were optimal in the initial stages (more plants per m2) favouring an ideal tillering. However, this did not lead to production, since at booting and ripening the plant was not supported by an adequate nitrogen-based nutrition.

Applying high-quality products with the best technologies has the objective to produce more by employing less resources. The strategy Farm to Fork sets challenging objectives, therefore the job of the farming system and of the whole supply chain will be to innovate and to pursue an ever-increasing sustainable development.

Nutritional strategies for the vineyard: autumn fertilization

A correct fertilization of grapevine prevents and avoids potential damage caused by nutritional deficiencies.
Fertilizing at the end of the production cycle promotes an optimal plant development and a qualitative improvement of grapes.

Moreover, precision agriculture, the use of satellite systems and prescription maps allow to optimize the use of fertilizers.

Autumn fertilization in post-harvest, before the fall of leaves, is a cultivation practice that should not be underestimated. It is the ideal moment to reintegrate the soil with the nutrients that the plant has used during the production cycle and to allow the grapevine to create reserves in order to survive winter and the next season.

Fundamental macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium must be available for the plant at the right time in order to guarantee an adequate nutrition since the earliest stages. Phosphorus is of primary importance: it is not a very mobile element in the soil, therefore it is necessary to apply it not only in the right quantity, but also to place it in a way that it will be assimilated quickly by plants, thus avoiding potential deficiencies and related symptoms.

Damage due to nutrients deficiency occurs with a reduction in photosynthesis, leaf yellowing or necrosis, underdeveloped plants, low-quality grapes and, in the worst case, production loss. So, it is necessary to integrate all nutrients through fertilization, so that the soil becomes rich and provides the plant with all the nutrients it needs during its biological cycle.

After harvest, the next step is fertilizing the grapevine, therefore Cerea FCP would like to share the importance and the advantages of autumn fertilization.

Our suggestions for a proper vineyard fertilization

In Cerea FCP, we would like to support you in the choice of the ideal fertilizer according to your vineyard’s needs and to help you throughout the whole production cycle of your plants. For this reason, in the last few years, we have developed a product/service package to optimize the fertilization of grapevine. The package includes:

- granular and special products suitable for each phase of the vegetative production cycle

- a satellite tracking system which allows to monitor the plot and to evaluate various technical parameters remotely. For more information, you may read the dedicated article.

In our grapevine line, the two recommended products for fertilization are Vinfrutto at a dosage of 300 kg/ha and Bluactive at a dosage of 400 kg/ha.

Vinfrutto is an organo-mineral granular compound NPK 8.6.14 fertilizer with 3% calcium, 2% magnesium, 30% soluble sulphur and microelements (boron, iron, zinc), 2% organic nitrogen and humic acids.

The application of Vinfrutto 8.6.14 in autumn guarantees:

  • a slow release of nitrogen with a fractional absorption over time
  • a balanced C/N ratio which, together with humic acids, stimulates the microbiological activity of the soil
  • a better assimilation of phosphorus, since it is linked to humic acids
  • robustness of tissues thanks to the presence of calcium
  • enhancement of metabolic processes and lower influence of nutritional deficiencies thanks to the presence of magnesium, sulphur and microelements
  • an improvement of fruit set because of the presence of potassium and soluble sulphur
  • an increase in the Brix degree since zinc and potassium are involved in the production processes of sugar

Blueactive is a mineral granular compound NPK 11.11.16 fertilizer with low contents of chlorine, 2% magnesium, 30% soluble sulphur, boron and zinc.

The application of Bluactive 11.11.16 in autumn guarantees:

  • a controlled release of nutrients, minimising losses
  • an adequate nutrition since the earliest stages
  • a better absorption of phosphorus as a result of its solubility
  • a lower influence of nutritional deficiencies thanks to the presence of microelements
  • an increase in the photosynthetic activity because it contains magnesium and sulphur
  • a better fertility of the flower because of the presence of boron and an increase in fruit set thanks to potassium and soluble sulphur
  • an increase in the Brix degree since zinc and potassium are involved in the production processes of sugar

The opinion of our clients is our best slogan

In Cerea FCP we believe that the best way to endorse the effectiveness of our products and the quality of our work is through our clients' feedbacks.

We would like to briefly share Cerea FCP experience in  2019 in collaboration with a wine company located in the Marche hills. We are in a Verdicchio vineyard where, at the end of the production cycle, deficiency symptoms, low yields and of poor quality emerged.

According to the company's agronomist, Filippo Paolasini, the vineyard presented a few areas with vegetative decay and a widespread leaf yellowing.
In order to further explore the problem and give a solution, we carried out a study on a soil analysis of 2015 provided by the company and an analysis of foliar petioles (spring 2019) by dividing the plot in two areas.

Figure 1. Air view of the plots analysed and of the samples TC1 and TN2 position

According to the results of the soil analysis, it can be observed that the sample plot 1 has a clay-loam texture (36% clay content). It is a strongly calcareous soil with a high percentage of active limestone (174 g/kg), a pH of 8,1 and a CSC of 21.5 meq/100g. This, in combination with a clayey soil, highly reduces the effective availability of nutrients (insolubility caused by the formation of salts)

Concerning the sample plot 2, we may notice a clayey texture (48% clay). It is a strongly calcareous soil with an excess of active limestone (168 g/kg) and a pH of 8,1. Its CSC is even higher, 24,9 meq/100g. However, as in the previous case, this, in combination with a clayey soil, highly reduces the effective availability of nutrients.

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Table 1: soil analysis results

Moreover, in the table above, it is noticeable that assimilable phosphorus in both plots is very low. This is mainly due to the strong presence of active limestone and a high pH equal to 8,1. Phosphorus is not a very mobile element in the soil and its absorption is strongly influenced by an alkaline pH, causing insolubility through the precipitation of phosphorus in calcium phosphate.

Afterwards, in the 2019 campaign (spring), we have analysed the foliar petioles harvested right after flowering (leaf opposed to the grape) so as to evaluate their content of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and manganese (see table 2).

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Table 2: foliar petioles analysis results expressed in ppm

After comparing analysis results with data shown in bibliography, we may affirm that Calcium and Magnesium present lower values than optimal ones [1] (3.000-5.000 ppm for magnesium and 10.000-30.000 for calcium). On the contrary, as regards Copper and Zinc, the values obtained are superior, while Iron and Manganese ones are average.

Concerning exchangeable magnesium, even if the soil analysis registered an average value in TC1 and a high value in TN2, with an optimal Mg/K ratio in both plots (3,3 e 4,1), the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil (clayey texture, active limestone and high CSC, pH 8,1) actually cause a reduction in the availability of magnesium. In these conditions, Magnesium and Potassium compete with one another favouring the absorption and assimilation of K over Mg. This is the reason why, both in petioles and plants analysis, values and symptoms caused by Mg deficiency were found.

[1] Grapevine Nutrition, Mark L. Chien, Penn State Cooperative Extension,Lancaster, PA,  lc12@psu.edu
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Figure 2. Evident symptoms of magnesium deficiency on the oldest leaves. (10/06/19) -Photos taken from F. Paolasini.
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Figure 3. Evident symptoms of phosphorus deficiency (10/06/19) -Photos taken from F. Paolasini.

In figure 2, we may notice symptoms of magnesium deficiency on the oldest leaves: yellowing with more evident veins in green. Whereas, in figure 3, we may observe the lack of plant development, poor vegetation and limited flowering, symptoms mainly caused by a failed absorption of phosphorus in the early stages.

After a study of the data gathered and according to the experience of the agronomist Filippo Paolasini, Cerea FCP agronomic service suggested an intervention through a specific nutritional strategy in order to address these deficiencies.

We recommended the application of Vinfrutto 8.6.14 at a dosage equal to 300 kg/ha during the autumn basal application and a second application before the opening of buds in spring. Moreover, we suggested the integration of a Phosphorus enriched fertilizer to be placed close to the root system (use of a fertilizer applicator, see an example in figure 4).

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Figure 4. Fertilizer applicator. Photo Arizza Srl.

We asked the agronomist Paolasini to tell us his experience with Cerea FCP products. You will find below a brief comment concerning his collaboration with our company:

I'm Filippo Paolasini, agronomist. I used the Vinfrutto product in the spring fertilization in a vineyard in the province of Ancona. The fertilizer was chosen after a foliar analysis by Cerea FCP staff. By cross-referencing the data obtained with soil analysis, deficiencies caused by an unbalanced Mg/K ratio emerged. By applying Vinfrutto in spring and autumn we managed to improve efficiency in the absorption of some elements (mainly magnesium and phosphorus) and we noticed a significant improvement in plant development

Solutions and strategies for the basal application of wheat

A correct autumn fertilization of wheat allows to obtain more plants per m2 and a higher ear density. Moreover, the use of prescription maps and satellite control diminishes waste and optimises fertilizer dosages.

Fertilization is a practice which calls for particular attention in every season, including autumn.

We are almost close to the wheat sowing season, therefore Cerea FCP would like to share the importance and the advantages of a correct basal application.

Basal application aims to reintroduce those nutrients that plants have removed during their production cycle, in order to maintain soil fertility constant. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are fundamental macronutrients for wheat growth and, for this reason, we must ensure that they are available in the right moments (mainly phosphorus and potassium from the earliest stages and nitrogen, especially from the booting stage). In particular, providing phosphorus during the sowing of wheat is important to guarantee a good germination and optimal root development and tillering.

Phosphorus is not very mobile in the soil (few mm each year), therefore it needs to be located close to the roots. Hence applying a fertilizer at sowing facilitates absorption processes and increases the efficient use of nutrients.

Our wheat nutrition proposal

Cerea FCP developed a product/service package to optimize fertilization of soft and hard wheat. The solution includes:

  • granular and special products suitable for each phase of the vegetative and production cycle
  • a satellite monitoring system which allows to observe a plot and make technical assessments directly from your computer. We have already discussed the topic here.

Within our wheat line, we offer two products, Granoro and SuperPower Plus: the first one is ideal for the traditional basal application at pre-sowing (300-400 kg/ha), while the second one can be applied in furrow with the starter technique (30-50 kg/ha).

Granoro 10.20 is a granular organo-mineral compound fertilizer with 10% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, 4% calcium, 20% sulphur, 7.5% organic carbon (mainly humic acids).

The application of Granoro 10.20 ensures:

  • a balanced ratio between nitrogen and phosphorus
  • a high content of soluble phosphorus immediately available for the plant
  • an easy nutrient assimilation thanks to the presence of humic acids
  • uniformity in the emergence and an optimal development of root system
  • increase in the protein content thanks to the presence of soluble sulphur
  • a better tillering
  • increase in the number of ears per m2
  • a greater number of spikelets.

The following results were obtained in the field by applying 330 kg/ha of Granoro 10.20 through an autumn basal application.

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Figure 1: percentage of emergence 48 days after sowing. Results obtained by Cerea FCP comparing two plots of the same wheat variety (Artù SN): on the right autumn fertilization with 330 kg/ha of Granoro 10.20, on the left no fertilization (2017/2018).
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Figure 2: number of ears per m2 six months after sowing. Results obtained by Cerea FCP comparing two plots of the same wheat variety (Artù SN): on the right autumn fertilization with 330 kg/ha of Granoro 10.20, on the left no fertilization (2017/2018).

SuperPower Plus 9.29 is a micro-granular mineral compound fertilizer with 9% nitrogen, 90% phosphorus, 4% calcium, 15% sulphur with boron and zinc. It is the ideal product for an application in furrow, in direct contact with the seed.

The application of SuperPower Plus 9.29 ensures:

  • a balanced ratio between nitrogen and phosphorus
  • a high content of soluble phosphorus immediately available for the plant
  • a more balanced nutrition from the earliest stages
  • a better absorption of phosphorus since it is found in proximity of roots
  • a greater number of spikelets
  • an increase in the number of ears per m2
  • an increase in the seed protein content thanks to soluble sulphur
  • an increase in the efficiency of fertilizer application
  • lower dosages
  • high uniformity in distribution and possibility to apply it directly in contact with the seed

The following results were obtained in the field by applying 50 kg/ha of SuperPower Plus 9.29 directly in furrow.

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Figure 3: percentage of emergence 48 days after sowing. Results obtained by Cerea FCP comparing two plots of the same wheat variety (Artù SN): on the right autumn fertilization with 50 kg/ha of SuperPower Plus 9.29, on the left no fertilization (2017/2018).
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Figure 4: number of ears per m2 six months after sowing. Results obtained by Cerea FCP comparing two plots of the same wheat variety (Artù SN): on the right autumn fertilization with 50 kg/ha of SuperPower Plus 9.29, on the left no fertilization (2017/2018).

Prescription maps

This new technology allows to cultivate with more awareness, combining traditional techniques with precision agriculture tools.

Cultivating well is not only providing the right nutrients at the right time, but also applying products more effectively.

How can we achieve this goal?

Agricolus offers a precision agriculture tool which allows to map the plot in a defined number of areas with different nutritional needs. The aim is to optimize fertilization by applying the most suitable fertilizers to those areas with the same needs (homogeneous areas), thus creating a prescription map.

The advantages that you will get from using a prescription map in order to cultivate wheat are: 

  • providing the plant with the correct quantity of fertilizer
  • reducing waste
  • rebalancing nutrients in the soil
  • optimizing plant growth
  • ensuring a lower environmental impact of the fertilizer.
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Figure 5: example of prescription map for wheat fertilization

Conclusions

Considering the tests carried out in the field, we may understand the correct basal application on wheat with Granoro or SuperPower Plus (at sowing), allowing to obtain an increase in emergence (more plants per m2) and a higher density of ears per m2. Finally, the use of prescription maps and satellite monitoring enable to reduce waste and optimize fertilizer dosages in the various vegetative phases.

For further information on our wheat package or on prescription maps, contact us by filling the following form.

The cultivation of processing tomato: new nutritional strategies

Bigger berries, higher Brix degree and a better market positioning: these are the results obtained by Cerea FCP through field tests on the processing tomato.

The importance of processing tomato in the Italian agriculture

Italy is one of the major producers of processing tomato in Europe. In 2019 its cultivation has reached a total area of 77.437 hectares, with an increase of approximately 7% as compared to last year. In the same year, only in Northern Italy the production has reached 24.697.706 quintals in total, that is about 51% of national production. (Data source: ISTAT, Italian National Institute of Statistics)

In the last few years organic farming has significantly grown. In particular, in 2020 the production of processing tomato through organic farming has reached an area equal to 3.451 hectares. Its organic crop is mainly located in the province of Ferrara, covering 2.212 hectares, followed by Ravenna (416 ha), Parma (247 ha), Verona (173 ha) and Piacenza (120 ha). (Data source: greenplanet.net)

These data highlight the increasing importance of the processing tomato crop for the economy of the country. In order to meet the standards demanded by the market, a particular attention from the nutritional and agronomical point of view is required. As a consequence, it becomes fundamental to invest in the research of specific fertilizers, able to satisfy nutritional needs during the whole crop cycle.

In Cerea FCP, we are trying to meet this particular need, providing fertilizers and special products which can ensure productions with the appropriate physical and organoleptic characteristics.

Cerea FCP nutrition proposal

In order to make a comparison between our nutrition proposal and companies’ practices, both in organic and conventional farming, in the course of 2020 we have performed tests on processing tomato. They were structured by dividing plots into two areas: the first one has been treated with the nutrition methodology proposed by Cerea FCP, the second one by employing companies’ cultivation practices. Arbitrary tests have been carried out on 1 m2 in three different sites (a total of 3 m2 for each field trial) within the production area.

Testing processing tomato plots

Tests have been conducted with the aim of:

  • Increasing yields
  • Increasing berry’s texture
  • Increasing sugar content (higher Brix degree)

Test with conventional farming techniques (Veneto)
In the nutrition proposal of Cerea FCP the following products were applied in fertigation:

  • Calcito: corrective with carboxylic acids acting as root system activator.
  • Proser MnZn: blend of microelements containing Zinc and Manganese vectored by carboxylic acids.

Shortly before harvesting, we have taken samples and studied the parameters below:

  • the number of red and green berries
  • total kg of berries
  • Brix degree

These are the results obtained in relation with companies’ techniques:

Shortly before harvesting, we have taken samples on which we have observed:

  • Red berries yield (kg/m2)
  • Brix degree

The charts in figure 1 and 2 report the results obtained in the experimental test of conventional farming.

Test with organic farming techniques (Emilia-Romagna)
In Cerea FCP nutrition proposal the following products were employed:

  • Verv Plus: protein hydrolysate of animal origin with amino acids, nitrogen and organic carbon, enriched with microelements.
  • Proser MnZn: blend of microelements containing Zinc and Manganese vectored by carboxylic acids.
  • Proser Ca: fluid fertilizer containing Calcium and carboxylic acids increasing berries texture and elasticity.

Also in this case, shortly before harvesting, we have taken samples on which we have observed:

  • Red berries yield (kg/m2)
  • Brix degree
  • Berry’s average weight
  • Rot influence

The charts in figure 3 and 4 report the results obtained in the experimental test of organic farming.

 

Conclusions

FCP nutrition proposal, both in organic and conventional farming, led to encouraging results since it produced a major fruit size as well as a greater Brix degree with respect to companies’ nutritional techniques.

In the conventional farming test in Cerea FCP field trial a higher yield per hectare (9,15 against 7,90 kg/m2) and a higher Brix degree (5,4 against 5,2) were obtained. This allowed to get a higher price of 1,1 €/ton equal to 100 € per hectare only as quality reward, to be added to the extra GSP (Gross Saleable Product) gained by the total increase in production.

In the organic farming test, results were similar to the conventional one. In particular, Cerea FCP field trial registered an increase in yield (10,3 against 9,0 kg/m2), in the berry’s average weight (75,2 g against 65,7), in the Brix degree (4,5 against 4,2) and a significantly lower influence of rotten berries (2,1 berries/m2 against 7,5).

High quality: the only way for the future of tobacco

In a market such as that of tobacco in which future perspectives are not very reassuring, it becomes necessary to focus on quality as well as on yield.

In occasion of a conference on tobacco organised by Cerea FCP, Andrea Franceschi, journalist for "Il Sole 24 Ore" newspaper, assessed the global situation of the last few years. The 5 societies that control the global market (Philip Morris International, Altria, Japan Tobacco, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and China National Tobacco) have suffered the effects of a consumption which has significantly diminished in the last 10 years. China is the only country where the number of smokers has remained stable.

In order to limit the damage, companies have focused on reduced risk products (Rrp), such as electronic cigarettes and devices avoiding tobacco combustion. However, these products are under examination (and under accusation) due to the presence of chemical components and nicotine, an addictive chemical; moreover, the percentage of nicotine has some limits equal to 7% in a few products in the USA and 2% in Italy.

As regards the situation in the peninsula, the first producer in Europe, the tobacco industry has undergone various transformations. In the last few years, public support has decreased and, from 2010 to 2018, farmers have greatly diminished from over 5.000 to 2.000 (EU Commission data), as well as cultivated areas.

In this scenario, quality becomes a fundamental aspect on which farmers have to focus, besides yield. Giuseppe Ciuffreda, head of the Cerea FCP agronomic service, explains: “Nitrogen fertilization has a relevant influence on the physicochemical properties which make tobacco suitable for industrial use, but Calcium is essential too”. An experimental test carried out in 2019 on various Verona areas highlighted this aspect. The use of Calcito (9% of soluble Calcium plus 1% of Magnesium soluble in liquid form) with a radical biostimulant (Proser MnZn, a mix of Manganese and Zinc in liquid form) in 4 treatments from the end of May to mid-July has led to an increase of 21,5% of the dry matter per hectare (+4,4q/ha) as compared to the plot. This increase was evident both on central and apical leaves.

The assimilable Calcium determines a prolonged stay-green, increases the dimension of leaves, and, as a consequence, yield and profitability.

https://www.informatoreagrario.it/agroindustria/mezzi-tecnici/alta-qualita-futuro-tabacco/

Cerea FCP: innovation in Agriculture

Satellite observation of a field and prescription maps. The different colours indicate different stress conditions of the crop in various plot areas.

Cerea FCP introduces a new agronomic service based on the satellite observation of crops. The new approach aims to provide our clients an innovative and personalised service, with an eye to precision agriculture and agriculture 4.0, through the Sentinel 2 satellite monitoring system.

Without being phisically in the fields, it allows to monitor crop parameters (every 5 days) and to promptly identify the activities to perform:

  • inspections of specific areas of the field,
  • rapid, targeted and effective interventions,
  • an improved activity planning.

The Cerea FCP technical-agronomic office will be at the side of the farmer by offering adequate solutions and strategies, thanks to nutritional guidelines specially designed by Cerea FCP for every single crop and demand of the farmer.

With the use of a simple device (PC, Tablet or smartphone), Cerea FCP gives the farmer the opportunity to access a platform and monitor:

  • their own crop health,
  • the vegetative course/trend/progress with a 10m x 10m precision of plots,
  • the soil water status,
  • the creation of downloadable prescription maps (also on USB devices).

Cerea FCP believes that new technologies may shorten the distance between farmers and technicians, promoting a unique, innovative and effective experience.

 

 

For further information, please, contact us at the following addresses:

Massimo – Mobile: 334 6269063 / e-mail: massimo.rizzello@fcpcerea.it

Federico – Mobile: 348 1838005

 

Cerea FCP does not stop!

Dear Customer,

Cerea FCP doesn’t stop its operations: our granulation system is still working 24/7; the logistic and shipping departments are active from 8:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday. The activities have been reorganized according to the guidance provided by the Government, in order to guarantee safety standards for all the workers involved. The new technologies allow us to continue some activities directly from home, therefore, you can contact us for any of your needs. Our contact details:

Italy sales: Matteo Steccanella

Mobile: 345 4804778

Foreign sales: Nicola Quintavalle

Mobile: +39 391 3198707

Skype: nicolaquitavalle

Our commitments remain the same, especially at this time: produce fertilizers to feed the plants and to contribute to food production.

Thank you.