Wheat: the ideal time to distinguish the difference between value and price

It is no longer a novelty that for the current wheat campaign, which is beginning to be sown in the coming weeks, the challenge is to find the best strategy to ensure profitability with very expensive fertilizer prices compared to grain prices. It is necessary to review the high value of fertilizers for wheat production, beyond their prices.

The price of an input or a good or a service is the amount of currency that we are willing to pay for it in order to obtain it to complete a production process. But the value arises from the importance of a good or service for the role it plays in the production process and the differentiation it gives to the product obtained.. The fertilizers that contain the nutrients are those that complement the nutrition of the crops to achieve the yield and the objective quality in all grain crops and in particular wheat, a relevant food for the manufacture of food.

Based on the work carried out by Fertilizar AC for six years in more than 45 trials in the Pampas region, we know that 22% of grain production today is explained by the use of fertilizers by grain producers. . In the particular case of wheat, the use of fertilizers contributes up to 32% of yields on average, that is, the value of crop nutrition due to the use of fertilizers.

We know that wheat is worth what it yields, but also and not least, for its baking quality. The most common way to measure its quality is to evaluate the protein concentration in the grains once harvested. And it is the dose of nitrogenous fertilizers that significantly determines this quality parameter of wheat.

Starting from this scenario, the Technical Committee of Fertilizar AC, through a research work, analyzed changes and relationships in nitrogen management on wheat production in the Pampas region between 1999 and 2019 with information available in the institutional report of Argentine wheat ( along with soil analysis reports from various reference laboratories with evaluations throughout the Pampas region and the records of the use of nitrogenous fertilizers typical of the industry.

From this work it follows that As the average wheat yields increased, the protein concentration decreased at a rate of 0.08 units for every 100 kg/ha of increase. And the improvement in protein concentration by increasing the supply of nitrogen available or applied by fertilization was between 0.34 and 0.40 units per 10 kg of N. Therefore, considering the average yields (2720 kg/ha) and to reach a minimum of 11% protein, the availability of nitrogen (sum of the soil at planting and the fertilizer applied) would have to be at least 90 kg of nitrogen. N/ha, equivalent to approximately 30 kg of nitrogen for each harvested ton of grains with bakery quality.

The key to this campaign to take advantage of the high value of fertilizers is to increase the efficiency of use by adjusting our nutrient inputs in wheat based on an intensification of diagnoses (environment) complemented with site quality indicators (anaerobic nitrogen – Nan ), the use of slow-release fertilizer sources and new specialty fertilizer technologies.

The author is a technical advisor for Fertilizar AC