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From algae to Mediterranean crops

23-05-2018

Olmix Group and Rusama Ganadería held a technical symposium on new fertiliser technologies for olive trees and corn on 26 April at the ASAJA Cordoba auditorium (Cordoba, Spain).

Last April, the Young Farmers Agricultural Association of Cordoba (ASAJA Cordoba) hosted a conference on new fertiliser technologies and strategies for olive and corn crops organised by Olmix Group and its distributor Rusama Ganadería. The event drew more than 50 industry professionals and was an excellent opportunity to discuss the main challenges posed to agriculture by climate change and how algae can be used to develop new technologies to enable natural, sustainable, efficient production.

Ignacio Arredondo, Area Manager in South West Europe at Olmix Group, Ignacio Fernández de Mesa, president of ASAJA Cordoba, and Ricardo López Crespo, Vice President of Caja Rural del Sur, gave the opening remarks. They then ceded the stage to the afternoon’s first speaker, Georges Veber, Area Manager for Southern Europe for the Olmix Plant Care range, who discussed Olmix’s new algae-based fertiliser strategies.

‘At Olmix, our goal is to reduce production costs and take the best possible care of the environment; we aim to boost and enhance crops’ natural resistance. To develop new fertiliser strategies, we needed an organic mineral source: seaweed extracts’, he said.

These natural alternatives are used in agriculture to prevent the use of pesticides and chemicals with any type of crop. But how does it work?

‘Pesticides cause dramatic changes in plants: they alter their biochemistry, interfere with their physiology, etc. Our algae-based solutions are highly assimilable and effective in plants. The Olmix transformation process makes it possible to obtain algae extracts with highly soluble molecules for enhanced absorption efficiency, small molecules to enable good plant penetration, and a specific content of active ingredients and nutrients to elicit specific physiological responses from the plant'.

To underscore Veber’s message, Rodrigo Barbudo Muñoz, Head of Agriculture at COVAP, presented the results of a trial with the Olmix biostimulant Algomel Push performed on corn silage. The trial was conducted in Lora del Río, Seville. The experimental design included a density of 110,000 plants per hectare, fertilisation and conventional pesticide use. The planting was done on 22 April 2017.

According to Barbudo, the results were excellent. ‘Several very interesting conclusions can be drawn from this trial’, he explained. ‘First, forage production increased by 3%, i.e. 1.8 t/ha. Second, the average weight of the cobs increased by 11%, and the cobs-per-plant ratio increased by 8%. Additionally, crude protein content increased by 5%, which is a considerable gain in nutritional value. Finally, the use of Algomel Push resulted in a benefit-cost ratio of €1.86 per euro invested.’

 

Practical experience fertilising olive orchards with algae

Rodrigo Barbudo showed the trial results obtained with Olmix biostimulant Algomel Push.

José Ángel Macho, Regional Sales Manager for Olmix Plant Care in Spain, and Joaquín Claramunt, Manager of Olivar de la Monja, ended the talks with an overview of olive orchards in Spain. They proposed an action protocol to reduce toxicity, promote the crops’ natural defences, and standardise production, amongst other things.

According to Claramunt, ‘Olive farming has to adapt to the new circumstances in an entirely different context from years ago. It has to face new diseases, be modernised and transformed. New plantations need to be managed, and production at traditional olive groves has to be kept up. To this end, we need new techniques and strategies that will allow us to adapt to the times, based on natural alternatives that reduce the use of pesticides.’ He went on to discuss his experience with Olmix products and the differentiation of quality oils and their management.

José Ángel Macho: 'Olive farming has to adapt to the new circumstances in an entirely different context from years ago'.

José Ángel Macho: ‘At Olmix, we have developed a protocol for applying biostimulants and fertilisers'.

To achieve these goals, the Olmix Plant Care team has developed a protocol for young and organic olive groves that uses algae-based fertilisers and biostimulants.

‘At Olmix, we have developed a protocol for applying biostimulants and fertilisers – Melfert, Marathon and the SeaMel range – to meet the crop’s needs and address both stress situations and key physiological processes. Not only does it boost performance and yield, it enables better control of copper in the soil, resulting in more concentrated cell tissues, harder plants and better control of diseases’, Macho said.

After the talks, participants capped off the symposium with a tasting of an assortment of algae-based products.

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