Coffee beans

Nitrates for the tropics

Oslo, June 27, 2013
The cooperation agreement between Yara and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), signed in November 2012, is taking shape. The agreement aims to jointly generate scientific data on the agronomic and environmental performance of nitrogen fertilizers, with focus on nitrates for crop production in tropical acid soils.
coffee field in Brazil

"We had not considered nitrate fertilizer forms in our Research & Developments (R&D) projects because urea is the main nitrogen fertilizer in local production. We expect Yara expertise to support development of new nitrogen fertilizer sources and technologies for our conditions," says José Polidoro, network innovation coordinator and scientist at Embrapa Soils.

In tropical acid conditions, nitrates can have several advantages for crop growth and the environment. "We need to understand and quantify potential benefits, not only from the crop physiology standpoint but holistically, and we need to do it with authorities. This information will also help other markets with similar agro-ecological conditions," explains Luis Torres, Project Coordinator from Yara's Research Center in Hanninghof, Germany. 

Project coordinators meeting at Embrapa

A first technical meeting between Yara's Research Center in Hanninghof, Yara Brazil and Embrapa took place in December 2012 to define the project scope. A follow up meeting in March 2013 further defined and aligned objectives.

Yara's Research Center in Hanninghof will coordinate the technical and scientific development of the project, with close support and strategic guidance of Yara Brazil.

Measuring the environmental impact of coffee and maize production

First activities will focus on high-value coffee and key grain crop maize. "One target is to be able to quantify yield/quality benefits of nitrates and a Yara-based nutritional offer, and to generate enough data to allow calculation of carbon footprint for high-value coffee production," says Luis Torres.

A similar study will examine the grain rotation system which covers millions of hectares in the Cerrado region in Brazil, obviously a major market in terms of fertilizer use and volumes.

“Carbon footprint can be cut all along the food value chain. As the world-leading provider of crop nutrition solutions, we collaborate with partners to increase yields while reducing emissions,” says Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President and CEO of Yara International. “Resolving the global challenges can be done in partnerships.”

Final details of the project are being decided, with a formal agreement planned for this August, and field activities kicking off by September.

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