SoilMate’s Weekly News Digest #22

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great working week and now is the time for AgTech News Digest!

Soil Mate
3 min readJul 9, 2021

Studies show that cleaner air increases corn and soybean yields

A new Stanford-led study estimates that pollution reduction between 1999 and 2019 contributed to about 20 percent of the increase in corn and soybean yields over this period, amounting to about $5 billion per year.

The analysis shows that the four key air pollutants are particularly harmful to crops and account on average for about 5 percent of the corn and soybean harvest over the study period. The results could help inform about technological and policy changes that will benefit American agriculture and highlight the importance of reducing air pollution in other parts of the world.


Yellowing corn leaf — management tips

Corn with yellow leaves on the edges of the fields may be a usual issue at this time of year, but producers may not know the cause, especially if they have tested the nutrients in the soil and found them sufficient to grow maize. Potassium deficiency is often blamed, but this is generally not the right cause, especially in the drought conditions many farmers are facing now. The yellowing of corn leaves is usually a sign of a problem with nutrient uptake due to competition for water from nearby grass or drought. “Our environment is dynamic,” said Matt Montgomery, Pioneer Field Agronomist. “Yes, these are potash deficiency symptoms, but the issue isn’t potash. The issue is moisture availability, and that’s because we’ve had this combination of drought and grassroots competing for moisture.” For management tips — read the full article on a website.

Yellowing Corn Leaves: Causes and Management Tips from Pioneer Channel

Three harvests a year with smart irrigation

Brazilian farmer — Antonio Luís Revolta plans to harvest three soy crops in just one season after testing the results of the smart irrigation system on his property. With the first harvest in February, he achieved a 65% yield increase, from 40 to 66 bags per hectare, in Barrotus, São Paulo.

According to Revolta, the turn was a longstanding desire. After four decades of producing 260 hectares of grain, the farmer’s yield has declined because of the drought of the last two years. That was enough to decide to invest in a reliable irrigation system to get results.

The results show that smart irrigation has become an influential tool to maintain competitiveness and ensure rapid and significant returns on investment.


Research: drought-resistant seeds

Researchers developed a way to protect the seeds from stress due to water scarcity during the crucial growing phase and even provide extra food to the plants. The process could be initiated in dry regions to facilitate agriculture on land prone to drought. “We wanted to make a coating that is specific to tackling drought,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of civil and environmental engineering Benedetto Marelli. “Because there is clear evidence that climate change is going to impact the basin of the Mediterranean area, we need to develop new technologies that can help to mitigate these changes in the climate patterns that are going to make less water available to agriculture.”


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash



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