Béla Szabó: We need to know our soils to choose the right fertilizers and fertilizer doses

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Horizont 98 Kft. (ltd) is a service provider for a farmers’ cooperative. The total plot size of the cooperative is about 3500 hectares. They advise and deliver input supplies to this farmers’ cooperative. Farmers of the cooperative mainly grow maize, wheat, barley, triticale, sunflower, rapeseed and alfalfa. Horizont 98 is using AgroCares Scanner package to advise the farmers from the cooperative about the nutrients in their soils and the right fertilization. Understanding soil fertility and applying good nutrient management is essential for sustainable agriculture, according to Béla Szabó jr, plant protection specialist. Having access to this information in a fast, reliable and affordable way was impossible before he used the AgroCares Scanner.

Preserving our soils for the next generation

Béla Szabó: "We are dependent on our soils to produce agricultural products. Soils are not easy to manage but very easy to destroy. Restoration of soils is extremely difficult, so preventing soil degradation by continuous good nutrient management is needed. If we want next generations to be able to still produce agricultural products on our soils we need to preserve these soils. Furthermore, good soil quality leads to an increase of yields and profitability, so there is also an economic incentive to preserve our soils."

Annual soil tests are needed

Horizont 98 Kft. is always looking for innovations that can improve their services. For Horizont 98, the right nutrient supply has always been one of the cornerstones of crop production. Béla Szabó Jr., Plant Protection Specialist: “Right nutrient supply will not only lead to a good end-of-year yield; wrong fertilization can trigger processes on fields that can take many years to be restored. Right, professional application is only possible if you perform soil tests on a yearly base.”

Fact-based calculation of fertilization

Before Horizont 98 had obtained the AgroCares Scanner, soils of the farmers were only tested every five years (obligatory soil test required by the government), using traditional laboratory testing methods. Fertilization was therefore calculated using personal experiences and preferences, not in a professional, fact-based way. When Béla Szabó heard about AgroCares Scanner during a professional training course, he was immediately intrigued by the opportunity of fast, reliable and easy soil testing.

Easy to use AgroCares Scanner and reliable results

Horizont 98 were among the first clients in Hungary to use the AgroCares Scanner and are satisfied with how the Scanner and SoilCares Manager app works. The measurements of the nutrients and values in the reports were in line with older soil tests and what we presumed. Also when we repeated the tests, the results were still good, so we were happy with these reliable results. The procedure of doing a soil test was not difficult and took about 10 minutes. Béla Szabó: “We discovered that the speed of the Scanner and app depends on the mobile device that we used with the Scanner. When we switched from a Sony Xperia Z4 tablet to a Huawei P10 smartphone, we obtained results much faster.”

The Scanner proved to provide what is promised: fast, easy and reliable soil testing. This makes it possible for us to calculate the amount of fertilizer needed for our fields much faster and based on real measurements.

Opportunities for farmers and advisors

Béla Szabó: "The AgroCares Scanner is unique in its kind, a handheld device with very easy-to-use app, that will give you affordable, fast and reliable measurements of soil parameters. With these results the actual nutrient needs can easily be calculated, so the right fertilizers in the right doses can be applied. This will save costs, increase yields and will lead to sustainable management of our soils, so next generations can still farm on these soils."