Taking care of the soil is key. Why? Because life on earth depends to a significant extent on the different functions performed by the thin layer of soil: it ensures the provision of food, the sustainable use of water, the conservation of biodiversity and helps to tackle climate change.
Therefore, in view of the new World Soil Conservation Day, to be celebrated this July 7, it is essential to review the contribution made by agriculture and fertilization to the protection of this essential resource. Profertil, as Argentina’s leading fertilizer producer, is an important player.
“Beyond the current circumstances, we always work to help producers to have the best products to nourish the soil. And we also train them so that they can do so, working together with the most renowned agricultural institutions in the country, such as INTA, AACREA and AAPRESID”, said Federico Veller, general manager of the company.
This day is celebrated in memory of Dr. Hugh Bennet who dedicated his life to the service of soil conservation, traveling to different countries including Argentina where he trained local pioneers in sustainable agriculture.
Today, caring for the soil is more important than ever before in the history of humankind. It is essential to be aware that only 3% of the world’s surface is arable land, and that this is the basis for producing the food that almost 8 billion inhabitants need to continue living.
“In Argentina, the entire agricultural chain has been doing a very positive job in terms of soil care, and in recent years very important milestones have been set, such as the increase in the area planted with maize and wheat, two fundamental crops to have sustainable approaches, together with an increase in the use of fertilizers, which allow replacing the nutrients that are lost with the harvested grains”, said Veller.
Today, in Argentina´s humid pampas, the country´s main productive area, there are about 1.5 hectares of soybean for every hectare of corn and wheat. Only 5 years ago, this ratio was almost 5 to 1 in favor of soybean. And last year, 5.7 million tons of fertilizers were used in Argentina, a sizable increase compared to 2.4 million tons in 2015.
More than 70% of the fertilizers applied last year are based on nitrogen. Among them, the most important is urea. And Profertil is the producer of Argentine urea. “For all this, we consider that we have a fundamental role in spreading the importance of dates such as the World Soil Conservation Day, in addition to working every day to achieve that goal,” summarized Veller.
On this path, Profertil promotes Best Management Practices (BMP), which include determining the correct dose, source, timing and fertilizer application. It also supports the program “Así son los suelos de mi país” (an educational project promoted by CREA with the technical support of INTA, the Argentine Soil Science Association and FAO Argentina), which provides training for teachers on conservation issues.
It also supports campaigns to promote the use of fundamental diagnostic tools such as soil analysis and the use of simulation models such as Triguero and Maicero, which enable data-based decision making.
According to UN figures, 95% of the food consumed by the world’s population is produced directly or indirectly in the soil. For this reason, taking care of it is essential. The organization estimates that by 2050 the world will have nearly 10 billion inhabitants and the arable land will not grow. We will have to produce more and better with the same resources. “In this regard, for years, we at Profertil have been promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the UN to achieve a balance between economic growth and care for the planet, “ said Veller. “In Argentina, with more maize and wheat, and with almost all agriculture under the no-tillage system, which avoids soil removal, we are on the right track”.