Scientists examine better spraying practices from Paraguay

Agricultural science is making headway in Paraguay as research results from that country were presented for the first time at an international congress. Technicians from Colonias Unidas Cooperative shared their findings on sprayer appliance improvement at the 8th International Symposium of Application Technology (Sintag) held this month in Campinas, Brazil.

John Rohrig, Milciades Martínez and Daniel Kuradomi present their research results at the Sintag Symposium

A precedent for Paraguay

Agriculturalists Orlando Gallas, Milciades Martínez, Daniel Kuradomi and John Rohrig from Colonias Unidas Cooperative and Consoil’s Consultancy Firm are members of a team that presented research supported by Solidaridad at the Sintag Symposium. The results were from an inspection project covering 32 sprayers in four cooperative branches. The goal of the project was to improve the application of agrochemicals and optimize product use. The results represent the first scientific agricultural research conducted in Paraguay to reach a high-profile international congress.

Regular inspection of sprayers in the field is a good practice already adopted in more than 20 countries around the world, but until recently, that was not the case in Paraguay. This project, however, was one of the first implemented in Paraguay according to international standards with methodologies already proven in other American countries and Europe. The results provided useful data on how agrochemicals were being applied in the field in the eastern region of the country.

“Being able to submit something was very important; we didn’t just attend as listeners, we also brought something to the table. This is a contribution to science related to appliance technology in Paraguay. Even if it wasn’t something huge, it’s the first step and professionally we take pride in having been able to deliver something done in Paraguay, on behalf of our country in an international symposium”, Kuradomi said.

The relevance of science for continual improvement

The quality of applying agrochemicals depends on the equipment being used and, in particular, the good condition of those components that are easily affected by wear and tear. That’s why it’s important to perform preventative maintenance work before each harvest to make sure sprayers are functioning properly.

Using sprayers correctly increases efficiency, allowing for a decrease in the number of applications by reducing product waste. As a result, producers can profit from saving on agrochemical purchases and it has less impact on the environment.

The research results also indicated that once inspections and calibration of machines took place, producers reported better results in rust control, which directly increased their yields. Furthermore, the inspection process improved technical assistance skills among the cooperative’s technicians and created awareness among its members. In fact, Colonias Unidas embraces more than 3,000 associates over more than 120,000 hectares and the demand from producers to participate in inspections grew after the project took place.

An investment in robust infrastructures

The idea of submitting a study to Sintag came up in 2015, Kuradomi told Solidaridad. “I kept asking myself why would Paraguay assist but never present anything at the symposium. Then, after a meeting with Eduardo and Orlando from Colonias Unidas Cooperative, I suggested submitting our work at the 7th edition of Sintag that was going to take place in Uberlândia,” he said.

The cooperative had already done some research on products, specifically on active agents against rust disease, but they realized they were missing good information on sprayers. “As we didn’t have anything concrete implemented in the field at that time, the project did not mature but the intention to submit something to the next symposium remained. In order to give our results more credibility, we wanted to avoid raising funds from private companies, so Orlando addressed Unicoop for help and Solidaridad, who had already conducted training on the effective use of sprayers in the Cooperative, provided us with the resources to execute our plan," said Kuradomi.

The team was surprised their research was accepted for the symposium. “We performed the inspection using a checklist based on ISO international standards and presented the results at the Cooperative offices," Kurodami said. "When the entry dates for Sintag 2017 arrived, Milciades said we needed to take the chance and try it. We prepared an abstract and sent it to the scientific body of the symposium for evaluation. They only sent back a few corrections linked to our translation from Spanish to Portuguese and finally, the approval arrived to showcase our results at the symposium.”

Kurodami continued by adding, “None of this would have been possible without the support from Unicoop and the Colonias Unidas Cooperative technicians who got the producers to participate. It was real teamwork. We wouldn’t have gotten far on our own and it was really a good experience. We wanted to do something serious for Paraguay and this recognition is a way to thank Solidaridad for having bet on us, to show they made the right choice in investing in our work and we hope to be able to continue more scientific studies in the future.”

Learn more about Solidaridad programmes in South America.