Page 1

BioPulse The pulse of Biological Agriculture

Issue 2 | May 2013

AgriSil K50 - The Anti-Stress Fertiliser Brendon looks into the benefits of using Potassium Silicate to combat plant stress. MADUMBI GOES DIGITAL


Andre discusses the digital age and the reasoning behind

Rosan recently attended the World Soybean Conference held at

Madumbi’s drive to embrace it.

Durban’s ICC, she reports back on points of interest.

Brought to you by The driving force behind Sustainable Agriculture Tel. 086 104 5261

Madumbi Goes Digital ANDRE FOX Madumbi Sustainable Agriculture CEO Wikipedia claims that most print ends up in land fills, surely then the objective is to “think before we ink”. When it comes to business, print is inevitable; however we see that more and more digital media options are becoming available for marketing, advertising and communications. The digital age is here, from your desktop to your laptop, tablet or smart phone a world of information is now available online wherever you and your device are. We believe more and more customers will look for digital options in future for its advantages in accessibility and ease of use. As proud innovators in the agricultural market Madumbi will be exploring and making use of digital options wherever possible ensuring we, our agents and our customers move with the digital age. We are sure this move will help to minimise our carbon footprint, save on marketing costs (which will help keep product prices in check) and maximise customer and staff satisfaction. In line with this strategy we would like to draw your attention to the following: • •

• • •

Madumbi’s complete product manual is now available at View and download here. BioPulse digital magazine. The February launch issue attracted readers as far afield as China and the USA. With the information statistics provides we aim to tailor BioPulse more towards your needs and interests so expect some changes in the future. All BioPulse issues are available in our library. View and download here. is available on your mobile device, download the app here, subscribe to Madumbi and stay up to date with our latest publications. Training will soon go digital with the aid of Webinaar software, keeping us in touch with you from our desk to yours. Madumbi staff optimise efficiency with the aid of a number of cloud based tools • Performance management system provided by EpicIT • Hatch, Match and Dispatch order tracking. • Data security and remote accessibility provided by BackMeUp data security keeps our information safe and online whenever and wherever we need it.

As always we welcome your feedback both positive and negative so please let us know your thoughts. Lets work together to reduce our footprint and secure our sustainability. Enjoy this issue – it is packed with news from the latest in Soybean production from the World Soybean Conference and nutritional tools to manage plant stress, I am sure you will find something to draw your interest and build your knowledge. P.S. A quick follow up on Megan’s article on Bees from February, the EU recently voted to ban the use of three neonicotinoids due to their toxicity to bee populations. The proposal restricts the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants and cereals. While the vote did not achieve a required majority it was supported by 15 of the 27 member states. Watch this space!

Page 1

Andre launches Madumbi digital



The high performance, holistic approach to plant nutrition. • A range of quality nutrition products formulated for growth phase, stress or deficiency management. • Ideal Macro and Micro nutrients provided in a single drum. • Amino Acid chelated for fast and efficient absorption. • Unique blend of biostimulants target and optimise growth.

Achieve sustainable plant health.

Brought to you by

Your partner in Sustainable Solutions

World Soybean Conference Report Back ROSAN JANSE VAN VUUREN Madumbi Sustainable Agriculture Key Account Manager - North This year, South Africa was given the opportunity to host the World Soybean Research Conference (WSRC), a first for the African Continent. The theme of this conference was “From China to Africa” and the questions asked: “With food requirements under increasing pressure as the world’s population increases, will there still be enough supply by 2050? Can research close the gap between soybean production and increasing global demand?” Dr. G.J.H. Scholtemeier. Delegates from the main soybean production countries like Brazil, Argentina, USA, Canada, China, India and various African countries attended. The world’s demand for soybean is on the increase and higher protein content is a big concern. China and India utilise 63% of the world’s soybean production and the demand has been increasing yearly (current demand is at 460 000 000 tons). A yearly increase in South African soybean production was also noted and this year approximately 530 000 hectares were produced. Worldwide there is also a notable shift from maize to soybean production as the demand for bio fuel also increases, surely South Africa will follow this trend. All predictions indicate the soybean market is set to grow! While this market growth is promising for soybean producers a number of problems will be encountered in the effort to reach the world’s constant demand for high protein soybean. These include: • European countries do not accept GM soybeans and there needs to be a mind shift. • More drought resistant cultivars are needed as main production countries like Brazil, Argentina and USA had suffered severe droughts the past three years as a result of global warming. • Disease resistant cultivars for problematic fungal diseases such as Sclerotinia, sudden death and Asian soybean rust are needed as a disease such as Asian rust alone causes $ 20 Billion yield loss in Brazil. • The world’s demand to minimise pesticides increases the demand for natural and biological control products. • Plant parasitic nematode resistant cultivars are needed as root-knot and soy bean cyst nematodes are contributing to great yield losses. Only one root-knot nematode resistant cultivar exists in South Africa and is not planted by our farmers. Poor nematode control and rotating with maize which is a good host crop contribute to escalations in root-knot population built up with 11 000 L 2 larvae per 50g root mass. Syngenta has therefore also launched their first nematicide seed treatment namely Avicta. Left, seen recently on field visit, an example of the significant effect nematodes can have on a soybean crop. Above sample taken from an untreated field significantly affected by nematodes showed abnormal growth and yellowing that would indicate poor nodulation and N fixation. This was not a result of poor Rhizobium efficacy but rather the negative effect of parasitic nematodes on nodulation. This is confirmed by the lower sample taken from a field treated for nematodes showing normal healthy growth, excellent nodulation and good nitrogen fixation.

Page 3

Rosan reports back on the World Soybean Research Conference

Areas of focus at the conference included genetics and breeding, agronomy, plant protection, soybean production in various countries and human applications. I noted and summarised the following topics of interest. Nitrogen requirements and fixation • Effect of soybean on yield and nitrogen fertilisation requirement of succeeding maize crop in South Africa (Nel A.A.) -- Up to 41 kg/ha N is contributed to the soil by Rhizobium nitrogen fixation with a soybean crop. This becomes available for a rotating crop such as maize, enabling a potential saving in your N application. Maize rotating soybean has better root development and yield increases of up to 12% can be expected. • A comparison of two liquid and one powder formulation of Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculants on the development of nitrogen-fixing nodules on soybean (Glycine max) (Du Rand N.) -- This research conducted by the University of Kwa Zulu Natal looked at effective viable nodulation obtained with Bradyrhizobium japonicum strain WB74. In general South African soils have low pH levels which are problematic for Mo absorption making inoculation with an effective Rhizobium inoculant essential. Eco-Soy was the powder formulation tested and results showed a 15-18 % yield increase along with improved viability of the nodules produced when compared to the liquid formulations tested. Storage of soybean seed and seed diseases • Effect of storage on soybean seed vigour and emergence (Rupe J.C) -- Farmers need to take note of the consequences of repeated use of brown bag seed. Germination rates are reduced to 85-65% and decrease yearly as fluctuations in temperatures and humidity in storage can’t effectively be controlled. Brown bag seed also poses a threat to genetics and contributes to a decrease in protein content. Currently South Africa is producing soybean with relatively low protein content. Contribution of Silicon in disease management • Use of potassium silicate for the control of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) on soybean (Laing M.D.) In South Africa this disease can cause between 10-80% yield losses. Not many resistant soybean cultivars exist and there is generally poor efficacy of fungicidal applications of strobilurin with triazole. Laing’s research has found that silicon (AgriSil K50) combined with a preventative fungicide gave a significant suppression in soybean rust. Silicon can be supportive in an IPM program by minimising the need for repeated chemical sprays and thereby reducing the potential for the development of resistance. Use of AgriSil K50 showed a 32% increase in yield in comparison with the control. Application of Glyphosate and the frequency of sudden death syndrome • Effects of Glyphosate application rates and frequency on soybean sudden death syndrome (Navi S.S) -- This was a very interesting lecture with emotions running high but the data obtained by various field and trials results proofed the impact of Glyphosate by stressing soybean plants by withholding important nutrients required and thus make them more susceptible for this disease. Plants are often more stunted showing typical symptoms such as yellowing and cupping. It is not possible to summarise all the lectures and posters however a lot was learned in the presentations of the latest researched information and the conference provided an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing information with the researchers and delegates in attendance. Overall it was a very successful conference and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend.

Page 4

Rosan reports back on the World Soybean Research Conference

AgriSil K50 - The Anti-Stress Fertiliser BRENDON NEUMANN Madumbi Sustainable Agriculture Category Manager - BioFertiliser and Plant Vitality / Key Account Manager - South AgriSil K50 is a Potassium Silicate based fertilizer with a good load of plant available silicon. As early as 1856 Justus von Liebig (considered the ‘father of the fertilizer industry’) included silicon in his list of essential plant nutrients. Despite the fact that silicon is abundant in all soils, the majority of this silicon is not plant available and it has been estimated that 70% of South African soils are deficient in plant available silicon! In the past 10 years there has been increasing interest in the role of silicon in plants and the value that silicon can provide as a fertilizer element in commercial cropping systems. As a result of this research it has been determined that silicon fertilizer can provide the following benefits: 1. Increase plant tolerance to abiotic stress e.g. cold, heat, drought, salinity etc. 2. Increase plant resistance to both pathogens and insect pests. 3. Improve plant growth by its beneficial effects on water and nutrient uptake, water use efficiency and photosynthesis. For many years it was thought that these beneficial effects were primarily as a result of the mechanical strengthening of plant cells. While this is still widely accepted as one of the primary modes of action, there has to be more to it considering some of the fantastic responses achieved at comparably low rates of silicon per hectare. Resent research has thus focussed on the effects silicon has at a molecular level. Relatively low levels of silicon have been shown to have a significant effect on the levels of anti-stress compounds in plants. These compounds include things like enzymes and anti-oxidants which are known to be produced by plants in response to environmental stresses such as cold or drought stress. By reducing the impact of environmental stresses on young plants one can typically achieve significant improvements in subsequent growth and yield. Also, plants that stand up to environmental stress better, are less likely to become infected by pathogens and insects which often target stressed/weakened plants. Left, the effect of silicon application on drought tolerance in wheat. Plants on the right received silicon while those on the left did not. Photo reproduced from: Janislampi, K.W. 2012, MSc Thesis, Utah State University.

Similarly, silicon also plays a role in increasing the production of various ‘defence’ compounds, e.g. chitinase. These compounds are known components of the plants natural immune/resistance response and can help limit the impact of pests or disease. The positive effects of silicon have been demonstrated for a number of diseases including, Powdery mildew, Rust, Fusarium, Phytophthora, etc. as well as several insect pests such as mites, aphids, stem borers and nematodes. It should be noted that silicon on its own does not provide total control of any of these pests or diseases. It strengthens the plants immune system and makes it more difficult for the pest/pathogen to get established. When used in conjunction with other control measures this results in better, and more sustainable, control. Page 5

Brendon reviews AgriSil K50 as an Anti-Stress fertiliser

AgriSil K50 The ultimate stess management tool.

Almost all crops come under some form of stress at some stage during their production. This stress can either be biotic (pests & disease) or abiotic (heat/cold/drought etc.). Correct application of AgriSil K50 can have significant effects in terms of reducing the impact of stress and increasing yields. • Fully soluble liquid formulation. • Improved tolerance to pest, disease and environmental stress. • Improved general plant health and quality of produce. • Ideal for use with biological products as part of a sustainable IPM program. Brought to you by

Your partner in Sustainable Solutions

The driving force behind Sustainable Agriculture Tel. 086 104 5261

Until next time from the Madumbi team, Happy Farming!

BioPulse May 2013  

A quarterly publication focusing on developments in Sustainable Agriculture in South Africa.