WIncreasingly, Brazilian agribusiness is investing in specific fertilization techniques to conserve the soil and improve productivity. In the cerrado of western Bahia, responsible for 92% of the state’s grain production, soil treatment is extremely necessary due to its acidity and lack of fertility. Companies in the region have been recording production growth records of around 3% each harvest due to investment in research, treatments, professionalization of producers and technologies capable of guaranteeing efficiency, innovation in the production process and soil and water conservation.
Agronegócio Estrondo, located in Formosa do Rio Preto (BA), for example, has already invested around R$855 million in soil treatment and has been achieving production records. “With each harvest we increase production by 3% and we have already identified that one of the reasons is the recovery and conservation work that we have been doing for more than 10 years”, says Daniel Ferraz, general manager of the enterprise. He explains that the secret is to never let the sun hit the ground directly. “Techniques always prioritize a type of protective coverage. When we choose to shelter the leaves, it is even more interesting because they capture sunlight and transform it into energy for cultivation, emitting nutrients and other benefits for the plantation”, he adds.
To preserve the soil, producers need to adapt the cultivation system to maintain the greatest possible amount of vegetation cover. One of the most used methods is the direct planting system (SPD), whose plantation receives a straw cover, leaving the land protected from erosion and improving moisture retention. According to Ken Olson, a soil scientist at the University of Illinois, “crops that have cover crops have more organic carbon stocks in the soil than those without cover crops for the same soil root zone and tillage treatment.”
The expansion of this planting system contributes to adding organic matter to the soil in depth, from microorganisms responsible for fixing carbon dioxide emissions – originating from machinery, for example – in the soil.
According to Ferraz, the direct planting system has been widely applied on Agronegócio Estrondo farms as a way of sequestering organic carbon in the soil. “We plan to demand the sequestration of 675 thousand tons of carbon dioxide, arriving in 2030 with carbon emissions already neutralized, meeting target 2.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, he states.
Due to the technical, economic, environmental and social benefits it provides, SPD was included among the technologies that make up the voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assumed by Brazil, which resulted in the creation of the Sector Plan for the Consolidation of a Low Carbon Emission Economy in Agriculture, what is conventionally called the ABC Plan (Low Carbon Emission Agriculture).