Categories: NewsPublished On: 30th June 2010

Omnia proves products in real farming conditions

By 3 min read

In the never-ending quest for improved yields, farmers are constantly confronted with new products. However, the application of unproven new technology in a production situation can be a risky business.

At Omnia, new products are first tested in the chemical laboratory, where factors such as formulation stability, consistency, possible hazards and quality are determined.

Omnia believes that all new products should be thoroughly tested in the field before being released to farmers. Therefore, after laboratory testing, products are passed on to Omnia’s Agronomic Research and Development Department, headed by Megan A’Bear, for field tests.

“We want to add value through applied research on how the product can influence quality, yield and profitability,” says Megan. “Therefore, we find the optimum dosage, determine when to apply it and whether and how well it will work in the South African situation.”

Initial screening and tests are conducted in the Department’s greenhouses at Sasolburg, and then continued on commercial farms all over the country.

Farmers are quite willing and enthusiastic to help. After all, they do not only benefit from the information gained in the process, but also from the increased yields usually resulting from the tests.

Due to the many variable factors in the farming industry, tests have to be conducted over different seasons and in different situations. Provision must be made for aspects such as different soils, weather changes and different cultivars.

Throughout the test period, observations are made, measurements are taken and accurate records are kept to be analysed at the end of the period.

Finally, after two to three years of testing, accurate advice can be given on the use of the particular product, and the results that can be expected under specific conditions.

This means that the farmer knows exactly what to expect,a nd that Omnia’s marketing department maintains its credibility when making recommendations about the use of products.

This forms part of Omnia’s principle of looking holistically at soil to improve yields through the more efficient use of fertiliser.

Apart from attaining improved yields and quality with the same amount of fertiliser, this approach also opens up other exciting possibilities, such as using nutrition to help plants to resist disease and pest attacks, and to improve the protein content of wheat and the starch content of apples.

Natural plant hormones can also be used to direct plant growth or physiology to alleviate drought stress and other challenges.

The farmer welcomes all these developments, but there are so many products and claims that he may find it very difficult to make the right decisions.

Omnia’s Agronomical Research and Development Department makes it easier for him by performing thorough and repeated tests to scientifically assess the use of products under various conditions, so that the farmer can see whether the yield increase is due to the product used or merely to soil variations or other factors.

For more information, contact Megan A’Bear at 011-709-8778.


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