— Sergey Ivanovich, how dependent is agriculture today on modern agrochemical preparations, including fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc.?

Which components - fertilizers or other agrochemicals - are especially critical for the Russian agricultural sector?

— Solving the problem of food security is impossible without the use of means of intensification — mineral fertilizers, plant protection products, irrigation, scientifically based crop rotations, energy-rich agricultural technologies.

The growth of agricultural crop yields by 30% depends on the application of mineral fertilizers, by 15–20% - from plant protection products and by 15–20% from agricultural practices.

Mineral fertilizers are the main resource for managing the production process (a set of interrelated processes occurring in a plant. - 

RT

) in modern agricultural technologies.

The world market of mineral fertilizers is developing rapidly.

The main driver of development is the increase in the world's population, far outpacing the expansion of arable land and the rapidly growing demand for food.

Without the use of fertilizers, it is impossible to satisfy this demand.

Increasing the intensity of farming, including the use of fertilizers, pesticides, chemical ameliorants and plant growth regulators, is the only solution to the problem of food security.

The Russian Federation produces 20 million tons of mineral fertilizers per year

in terms of nutrients, which is 10% of world production, but domestic use does not exceed 3 million tons of NPK (mineral complexes, including three main components: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. -

RT

).

Most of the crop yield is formed by the introduction and removal of nutrients into the soil with the help of fertilizers.

Today, however, 2-3 times more nutrients are taken from the soil than are applied with fertilizers.

This leads to a negative balance of nutrients and humus in the soil and to gradual soil degradation.

The balance of nutrients in the country as a whole remains stably negative.

Therefore, increasing the domestic use of mineral fertilizers and plant protection products is currently critical, since this is the basis for ensuring the food security of the Russian Federation.

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  • © Bloomberg Creative

— How science-intensive is the development of new drugs for crop production?

- The latest achievements of science, including agrochemistry, allow us to ensure the country's food security and access to world markets.

Now specific fertilizer systems are being developed for crops in agrocenoses (artificial ecosystems. -

RT

),

and also regulated

cycle of elements of mineral nutrition of plants in agricultural landscapes.

To create new drugs and formulations, it is necessary to take into account at least 20 different factors, including increasing soil fertility, taking into account the characteristics of a particular field, the biological characteristics of crops and other conditions.

In Russia, with its different soil and climatic conditions and in the current economic realities of each region, this requires a lot of resources, setting up a huge number of experiments, taking into account all the data obtained.

Therefore, any new drugs and technologies are quite science-intensive, their development takes at least 5-7 years.

— What are the most interesting, innovative and promising areas and developments in this area?

- Modern research, on the one hand, is aimed at reducing the cost of production;

on the other hand, to increase the adaptive potential of agrocenoses through the introduction of innovative drugs.

Such substances include not only fertilizers containing macro- and microelements, but also phytohormones, humic and fulvic acids, amino acids, ultramicroelements.

  • nodule bacteria

  • Legion Media

  • © Nigel Cattlin

All over the world, new high-tech, multifunctional fertilizers are being developed, which give a great economic effect.

The preparations are able to purposefully ensure the activation of the mechanisms of photosynthesis, as well as the mechanisms of antioxidant and antitoxic protection.

They are popular with agricultural producers, so the number of such fertilizers on the market is growing rapidly (about 150 products are registered today).

- One of the interesting technologies in the field of agrochemistry is the creation of plant protection products based on colloidal solutions of metals - copper or silver.

It is believed that such drugs can also stimulate plant immunity; such developments are underway in a number of research centers.

What can be said about this direction, can such preparations replace traditional pesticides? 

— The environmental safety of agricultural production requires a reduction in the use of chemical plant protection.

Plant growth regulators with the effect of inducing (strengthening) resistance to diseases and activating plant defense reactions to adverse environmental conditions act as an alternative to chemical preparations.

Silver and its compounds occupy a unique place among biologically active substances.

This element is not vital, but with a controlled intake into the plant, it can have a noticeable positive effect on the course of many physiological processes.

However, the phytotoxicity of large doses of silver and the change in the intensity of its action with a slight increase in its dosage until recently made the problem of developing preparative forms based on soluble compounds of this metal practically unsolvable.

  • The study of the effectiveness of the use of lanthanides on seedlings of cucumber cv. Herman

  • © All-Russian Research Institute of Agrochemistry.

    D. N. Pryanishnikova

It turned out to be possible to overcome the difficulties associated with the accuracy of dosage and the negative effect of large doses of silver only with the advent of a fundamentally new class of silver-containing preparations - colloidal solutions containing particles of metallic silver.

Such particles serve as a kind of container - gradually, under the action of oxygen or as a result of oxidation by endogenous reactive oxygen species, in particular, hydrogen peroxide, silver is oxidized, and silver ions enter the solution.

The mechanism of action of colloidal preparations is based on the formation of non-specific (to fungi, bacteria, viruses), systemic, long-term (within 1–2 months) resistance and activation of growth and biological processes in the plant, which should favorably affect the increase in yield and improve product quality

.

The rapid development of methods for obtaining such disperse systems has led to the fact that they are currently one of the most used among all available new materials.

Nevertheless, many aspects of the biological effect of colloidal silver particles on higher plants have not been sufficiently studied.

- Another direction is the production of bacterial fertilizers, where nodule bacteria enter into symbiosis with the root system of plants, providing them with nutrients.

How effective is this approach?

And what other technologies of this kind exist? 

- To preserve soil fertility and prevent its degradation, it is necessary that land use be environmentally friendly, based on natural natural processes.

Biological nitrogen occupies a special place here, since more than 70–90% of nitrogen in arable soils and almost all of its reserves in natural conditions are produced by symbiotic microorganisms.

In the total volume of world biological nitrogen, the main share belongs to the number of nodule bacteria located on the roots of leguminous plants.

Such microorganisms stimulate the growth and development of plants, increase their resistance to adverse environmental factors, and suppress the development of pathogenic microflora.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the contribution of biological nitrogen fixation (the process of absorption of atmospheric nitrogen by soil microorganisms and its transformation into organic and mineral substances. - 

RT

) in agricultural production is approximately twice as high as chemical nitrogen fertilizers.

In the annual total nitrogen flow, bacterial fertilizers emit three times more gas than mineral fertilizers.

An important area of ​​research is the work on the creation of highly efficient, ecologically plastic strains of nodule bacteria, as well as the development of optimized technologies for the use of biological preparations in the cultivation of agricultural crops

.

  • Agricultural UAV

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  • © Valentin Valkov / 500px

“Today, the agro-industrial complex uses “agricultural” drones that analyze the condition of the soil, plant seeds, process crops and make yield forecasts.

Will agriculture be fully automated?

Will agricultural machines be able to create fertilizers themselves, improve them and the like?

— Agriculture of the future is complex automation and robotization of production, the use of automated systems for decision-making, as well as modern technologies for modeling and designing ecosystems.

Already now, agronomists, farmers, consultants have access to mobile or online applications that, when loading data about the field (coordinates, area, type of crops, yields of previous years), provide accurate recommendations and a sequence of actions, combining data from equipment, sensors, drones, satellites , other external applications.

The software helps not only to determine the best time for planting seeds, the volume of fertilizer application, moisture, crop forecasting, but also to calculate the logistics of agricultural products.

Currently, the system of precision farming is gaining popularity, in which a special role is assigned to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

"Agricultural" drones really perform many different intellectual functions.

When using various multispectral UAV sensors, it is possible to determine local areas that need irrigation or fertilization, monitor the condition of crops and quickly respond to their changes, which makes it possible to save future crops from diseases and pests.

The creation of intelligent decision support systems for agricultural producers is, in our opinion, a very important topic for both scientific developments and IT.

The All-Russian Research Institute of Agrochemistry develops mathematical models for managing crop yields in various soil and climatic zones of Russia, and on their basis, for example, software for estimating yields depending on the influence of natural factors and the use of fertilizers.

Currently, digital analytical tools and specialized information databases are being created and implemented.

The result of this implementation is the management of agricultural production while maintaining the fertility of farmland.

— What else are the specialists of the All-Russian Research Institute of Agrochemistry named after D. N. Pryanishnikov developing?

— The All-Russian Research Institute of Agrochemistry studies the influence of soil agrochemical indicators on the yield and economic efficiency of the use of mineral and organic fertilizers in the cultivation of major crops in various soil and climatic zones of the Russian Federation.

  • Determination of nitrogen according to the Kjeldahl method, on a device from Gerhardt

  • © All-Russian Research Institute of Agrochemistry.

    D. N. Pryanishnikova

The problem of acidity or alkalinity of soils is still relevant.

Its solution is chemical melioration.

As a result of our research, the range of chemical ameliorants has been supplemented, which makes it possible to improve the methods of environmentally safe and agronomically efficient use of calcium-, magnesium- and silicon-containing materials.

Our institute is also developing ways to increase the resistance of spring grain crops simultaneously to various types of abiotic stresses (drought, flooding, salinization, low temperature, herbicides, acidity of the environment).

The possibility of using lanthanides and rare earth elements to increase the stress resistance of agricultural plants is being investigated.

In addition, we are developing new types of standard samples of different ranks of soils, fodder, crop products, and mineral fertilizers.

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