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Specialty Plant Nutrition Treatments Resulted in 57% More Gross Margin for Tobacco Grower in Mexico

From November 2010 through May 2011, a field test was carried out on Burley tobacco in Santiago de Ixcuintla (Nayarit State, Mexico). On a tobacco plantation belonging to grower Juan Gonzalez Rangel, associate of the tobacco company Tabacos del Pacífico Norte in Santiago de Ixcuintla, the effects of treatments with granular fertilisers were compared against treatments with water-soluble Specialty Plant Nutrition (SPN) products. The purpose of this test was to assess the effect of each treatment on the yield and the quality of the leaves. Each treatment was carried out on a plot of 1 hectare. The details can be observed in Tables 1 and 2.

Moment of application-Momento de aplicación

Fertiliser-Fertilizante

kg/ha

N

P2O5

K2O

MgO

CaO

Transplanting-Transplante

18-16-14+2% MgO

500

90

80

70

10

0

30 DAT-30 DDT

22-01-18-4% CaO

450

99

5

81

0

18

45 DAT-45 DDT

22-01-18+4% CaO

250

55

3

45

0

10

Totals - Totales

1.200

244

88

196

10

28

Table 1. The tobacco grower’s treatment with granular fertilisers.

Moment of application-Momento de aplicación

Fertiliser-Fertilizante

kg/ha

N

P2O5

K2O

MgO

CaO

Transplanting-Transplante

18-16-14+2% MgO

500

90

80

70

10

0

30 DAT-30 DDT

Ultrasol® Growth - Ultrasol® Crecimiento

250

63

25

25

1

0

Yara™ Liva Calcinit

50

8

0

0

0

13

45 DAT-45 DDT

Ultrasol® NKS

250

30

0

0

0

13

Yara™ Liva Calcinit

50

8

0

0

0

13

Totals-Totales

1.100

199

105

210

11

26

Table 2. The SQM treatment with a granular base + water-soluble Specialty Plant Nutrition products.

Figures 1 and 2. The standard tobacco grower’s hand applied granular fertiliser treatment (left) versus the SQM water-soluble SPN sprinkler applied treatment (right).
Figures 1 and 2. The standard tobacco grower’s hand applied granular fertiliser treatment (left) versus the SQM water-soluble SPN sprinkler applied treatment (right).

The results clearly showed a positive effect of SQM’s watersoluble Specialty Plant Nutrition (SPN) products on overall yield, the total number of leaf strings, leaf size, the number of leaves, and plant height (Figure 3). The total yield and the yield per leaf quality also increased (Figure 4), as well as the total gross revenue and the gross revenue per leaf quality (Figure 5).

Figure 3. Performance increases (%) in tobacco growth and yield resulting from SQM’s side-dressed, sprinkler applied, water-soluble SPN treatment versus the tobacco grower’s hand applied treatment with granular fertilisers.
Figure 3. Performance increases (%) in tobacco growth and yield resulting from SQM’s side-dressed, sprinkler applied, water-soluble SPN treatment versus the tobacco grower’s hand applied treatment with granular fertilisers.

Figure 4. Comparison between the yield per leaf quality and in total.
Figure 4. Comparison between the yield per leaf quality and in total.

Figure 5. Comparison between the gross revenues per leaf quality and in total.
Figure 5. Comparison between the gross revenues per leaf quality and in total.

Economic analysis-Análisis económico

Grower- Productor (1)
Granular- manual application- Granular- aplicación manual

SQM (2)
SPN- with sprinkler
NVE- con aspersor

Difference (2-1)
Diferencia (2-1)

Fertiliser costs
Costos de Fertilizantes

904 US$

944 US$

+40 US$

+4%

Gross income
Ingresos brutos

6.942 US$

8.064 US$

+1.122 US$

+16%

Net income
Ingresos netos

6.038 US$

7.120 US$

+1.082 US$

+18%

Cost: benefit ratio - Relación costo: beneficio

1:27

Cuadro 3. Análisis económico de los dos tratamientos de fertilización.

Figure 6. Among other benefits, the SQM treatment resulted in longer tobacco leaves and of better quality.
Figure 6. Among other benefits, the SQM treatment resulted in longer tobacco leaves and of better quality.

Figure 7. Tobacco leaf strings hung to dry. The SQM treatment resulted in 20% more leaf strings versus the control.
Figure 7. Tobacco leaf strings hung to dry. The SQM treatment resulted in 20% more leaf strings versus the control.

Figures 8 and 9. The results clearly show a positive effect of the SQM treatment on plant height. Pictures taken on 6th January 2011. The left picture shows the control (54 cm); the right one shows the SQM field (71 cm).
Figures 8 and 9. The results clearly show a positive effect of the SQM treatment on plant height. Pictures taken on 6th January 2011. The left picture shows the control (54 cm); the right one shows the SQM field (71 cm).