Technology of Sowing: Cares and Challenges

Edição VIII | 03 - Mai . 2004

Germano Hadler - | José Francisco Martins - | Edmar Lopes Dantas - | Airton Francisco de Jesus -

    Certainly, good part of the success of a crop depends on the rapidity and unifor mity of the desired plant population establishment, which in turn are directly a associated to the sowing process. Factors as the sowing time, soil moisture and temperature, l land preparation, sowing density, fertilization, depth of sowing and quality of the seed, are deccisive for success.     
    Coming back to this important subject, we decided to hear the experiences of three Brazilian agricultural companies: the Hadler & Hasse, through its responsible technician (RT), Germano Hadler; Agro-Sol Seeds, represented for the RT José Francisco Vieira Martins; and the Agropastoril Jotabasso, in the words of Aírton Francisco de Jesus and Edmar Lopes Dantas.             
    Located in the State of Mato Grosso, Agro-Sol Seeds cultivates an area of 5,000 ha of soybean, 300 ha of rice and 2,100 ha of cotton, 200 ha of which for production of seeds and the other part for fiber production. The company entered in the market of seed production and commercialization from harvest 1999/2000. The Jotabasso company has its headquarter in State of Mato Grosso do Sul and cultivates 26,000 ha with soybean, cotton, maize, beans, wheat, and oats.               
    The company Hadler & Hasse is situated in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The irrigated rice, with 3,000 ha cultivated annually, constitutes the main crop, 500 ha are destined to soybean, 200 ha to sorghum, 400 ha to ryegrass and 20 ha to white clover.     
    Time and ways of preparation               
    In order not to lose the best moment, with respect to the form and time when the company starts to prepare itself for sowing, José Francisco Martins, of Agro-Sol, informs that, normally, the company starts to prepare itself before the last harvesting, therefore it is necessary to plan the cultural practices of pos-harvest (weed control, calcareous application, planting millet or sorghum to act as soil protector). Also mapping the area is carried through, on the basis of the last harvesting results. "Thus, it is possible to choose the best crop and variety to be planted in each area", justifies. In the case of Hadler & Hasse, according to Germano Hadler, in the areas of direct cultivation, the work is initiated in the previous year, at least with ten months of antecedence. When in same areas, the preparation starts during the previous harvest, or immediately after harvesting.             "The company starts to organize sowing, first carrying out a production plan, with involvement of the technical area ", disclose Aírton de Jesus, of Jotabasso. "In this planning they defined the cultivars, the areas destined to each one, the sowing schedule (as we produce seed, scheduling areas and time of sowing is necessary to reduce production risks), fertilization, control of plagues, weeds and diseases", inform. He remembers that previously sowing and harvesting the required machines are determined, as the human resources for each operation and carried through the necessary training.       
    Cultivation Systems               
    In the experience of Hadler & Hasse and Jotabasso, the system of Direct Planting has the preference, however it requires greater care: "Despite the easiness and anticipation of its practices, we work based on targets that must be fulfilled, either in the application of herbicides or with sowing itself. As sowing is initiated, its success depends on the fulfillment of the program ", observes Hadler. Its company also uses the Minimum Tillage, Conventional Preparation and Preparation under Water (variation of pre-germinated system). On the other hand, Jotabasso uses the Direct Planting in all the cultivated area. Edmar Dantas, of the Jotabasso, emphasizes that this system requires special care, as straw maintenance in the surface of the soil, to transit machines in adequate conditions of soil moisture to reduce problems of compacting, correction of acidity and toxic aluminum, among others practices.
    Agro-Sol Seeds uses the Direct Planting for soybean while for cotton, the Minimum Tillage and Conventional System are used. Cotton requires destruction of the remaining crop parts after harvesting. "Here in Mato Grosso (tropical climate), where the precipitations are well located, the Conventional System requires great care on lose soils with a deep profile where of erosions occurrence is a reality", evaluates José Francisco. 

    Graded Seed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hadler & Hasse and Jotabasso are unanimous in detaching that the sowing process is improved by the use of graded seeds. The first one uses coated clover seeds and fungicide treated soybean seeds. Jotabasso uses seeds treated with fungicides, micronutrients and rhyzobium. On the other side Agro-Sol as it uses vacuum planter, that sows seed by seed, graded seeds are not so important. The graphite is considered important to facilitate the flow of seeds in the sowing machine.  
    “Para a obtenção de estandes nota dez, devemos valorizar todos os detalhes.”
    Density of sowing               
    In Agro-Sol Seeds, the sowing density is determined based on the variety, on the germination percentage and field emergence. The same happens in the vision of Jotabasso, emphasizing the importance of the cultivar characteristics, the recommended population, the time of sowing and the level of soil fertility where the sowing will occur. In the c a s e o f irrigated rice, the sowing density is related to the variation of the amount of levels in the field. According to Hadler & Hasse, it is directly proportional to the topography of the land, since the company uses seeds with high germination and vigor and has as goal to use 125 kg/ha, the machines are adjusted independently of the germination percentage. Germano Hadler observes that, higher the number of levels, higher the necessity for seeds.               
   The adjustment of the sowing density is based, first, in the vigor of the seed for sowing occasion and later in the evaluation of the germination data. "If a seed lot has high germination, and a considerable homogeneous vigor, this adjustment becomesless problematic, therefore it is enough to sow well. If the vigor is low and germination average, with certainty, not all the seeds that do germinate go to originate a normal seedling, causing irregular stands ", ponders Agro-Sol.

    Dinâmica de Semeadura no evento AgriShow Cerrado                
    Adjustments of the sowing machine               
   According to José Francisco Martins, some factors must be observed to get a good stand, as for the adjustment of the sowing machine. First he indicates the perfect regulation of the gears, responsible for the distribution of the seeds, and discs, people in charge of the opening of the ridge where the seed will fall, in order to get a desired stand and the ideal depth where the seeds will be placed in the soil. "Also we have the fertilizer regulations, as much in the amount per hectare as in the depth of distribution in the soil and its localization (below or to the side of the seed with a depth around 10 cm). Finally, we have the regulation of the mechanism responsible for closing and compacting the soil, eliminating probable 'air bubbles' that would harm the germination process", explains.               
   All the regulations are directly related to the field conditions, as physical structure, type of covering and system of planting, being necessary changes in the exchange of an area for another one of different configuration. An initial adjustment can be made in the workshops, but it is at field level that occurs the main regulations of the sowing machine, where are chosen the cutting system to be used, system of covering the seed, system of distribution, etc, being necessary periodic adjustments. "We do adjust the sowing machine based on 90% germination and 125kg/ha in rice. In soybean, we use the corresponding disc based on the diameter of the seed. In the other crops we calculate the density in function of its germination, correcting for 100%", discloses Hadler.     
    “O sucesso da lavoura só será obtido se acertarmos o processo de uma semeadura.”

    Formation of stands               
    The prescription of Hadler to attain stands with no gaps is to give attention to all details: "To invest in the knowledge of the collaborators, machines and inputs, are important aspects, but good stands begins with the choice of the area, cultivation system seed size, depth of sowing, speed of sowing. The climate knowledge and local forecasts are important in terms of depth of sowing, fertilizer solubility, cultivar choice, etc".               
    High quality seed, sowing in ideal conditions of soil moisture and temperature, soil preparation, adequate machines and use, when necessary, of insecticides and fungicides are factors lined up by the others two companies. "To improve sowing efficiency we must use graded seeds, using the disc adjusted for the seed diameter, preventing the double seeds. Empty spaces are minimized with the use of seeds of high physiological quality", proclaim Aírton de Jesus, of Jotabasso. The three technicians prefer sowing during the day, that allows a better control of the work.               
    Poor stands can occur where if the sowing machine leave a ridge open or a rain occurs soon after sowing, forming a crust that hinders seed emergence, admits Edmar Dantas. Another problem is to carry out sowing in areas with straw, where the seed gets in contact with the straw inside the ridge, hindered to absorb water and to unchain the germination process. Sowing in soil with little moisture also results in poor stands.
    According to Agro-Sol Seeds, in the case of poor germination due to vigor problems, replanting is indicated. "On the opposite, the result will be weak plants and not uniform, affecting directly the productivity", observes José Francisco.
    Exploitation of farming               
    In terms of exploitation of agricultural area, so that spaces without sowing and others with over sowing do not occur, Hadler says that its company uses topographical artifices. "The roads and irrigation channels are strategically are located for better use. We do not use GPS for sowing, but as we do not plant at night, the marking bands of the machines are easily seen", explains.               
    The Agropastoril Jotabasso equally does not use the global system of positioning at sowing, they mark the lines. "Practically all the spaces of the farming are covered, occurring over sowing only at the hedges", informs Aírton de Jesus. The GPS is used by Agro-Sol in the systematization of the areas, in accordance with the dimensions of the machinery, eliminating hedges and peaks. This technology also is used at the moment of sowing, to open sowing bands and to prevent over sowing. "An important factor is to use same kind of equipment, mainly sowing machines", thinks José Francisco.      
    Differences between species               
    "Amongst its necessities, each species has its characteristics, being some easy ones, other difficult, but the secret is to use the best cultivation system for that species, in the determined area, with the best machine and, evidently, with the best seed. The remaining portion depends on the ability of the RT and of its collaborators ", Hadler summarizes.               
    For Agro-Sol, it does not exist, of general form, a more difficult species and yes, some that demand more attention, as it is the case of rice seed, due to its dimension and format. "If the seed is planted to deep, the seedling will need to spend much energy to breach the soil, on the other side, if its too shallow it will receive much influence from the environment, harming the germination process", justifies José Francisco.               
    "The species most difficult to sow is cotton, because the seed possess little reserve, the sowing depth should not be more than 3cm, sinceany formation of crust makes it difficult to emerge", thinks Aírton de Jesus, of Jotabasso.
    Qualification of HR               
    According to Hadler & Hasse, HR (Human Relations) is a basic item for who desires quality in its operations: "Investment in training is essential from the agronomist to the machine operator, which must talk the same language in order to maximize the sowing process". In Jotabasso, the machine operators also receive specific training sowing, knowing the machine and its functioning. Aírton Francisco also emphasizes the training need on work security, remembering that the company gives to the operators the necessary equipment and all the work is followed by one security technician contracted by the company.

    “O processo de semeadura exige a capacitação dos operadores."

    "Nowadays, all the machines and involved equipment in the sowing process use high technology, demanding qualification of the operators and the accurate notion of this process", observes the RT of Agro-Sol Seeds.                
    Jotabasso - "When the right time for sowing a particular cultivar is used, it expresses its maximum genetic potential, resulting in the highest productivity. Our company has the necessary machines, allowing to carry out sowing at the right time for all cultivars, this in order to avoid sowing outside the best sowing period which reduces productivity. The same reasoning serves for harvesting, where our system is programmed so that harvest is done the fastest way possible. We learned with our professors, in the university, that seed is made in the field".               
    Agro-Sol - "The cultivars are recommended base on the region or even on micro-region. Thus, it is important of if having good stand, observing the right time of sowing a particular cultivar. The success of the farming involves the sowing process, using seeds with origin, or either, certified or fiscalized seeds, with the assurance of the described quality in the analysis bulletins. With the use of saved seeds or brown bag seeds, there is a high probability of occurring poor stands".               
    Hadler & Hasse - "Currently, has research indicates for irrigated rice, the entrance of water must be carried through up to 15 days after-emergence. Therefore, with high vigorous seeds better stands will be obtained allowing a sooner water entrance in the field. This makes easy, in consequence, the agronomic practices with the crop.                
For the adoption of these techniques, the use of high quality seed of the recommended cultivar is essential. There is a slang saying that the worse early sowing is better that the best farming of the late sowing. To have good stands is the initial step to have a good crop; evidently, several others practices are necessary to accomplish the final objective. The producer who parts of this premise, has a great possibility of a great harvest."



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