As an annual plant that completes its production cycle in 110-145 days, the sunflower is economically important especially for the production of oilseeds.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict is having a dramatic impact on many sectors of agriculture and industry. Ukraine and Russia are leading producers of sunflower oil, and the lack of product from the countries involved in the conflict is having huge impacts on the food, restaurant, oleochemical and energy industries. To overcome the crisis and buffer the emergency, the most desirable strategy is to incentivise and support the local sunflower crop by increasing cultivation areas. However, it is not enough to cultivate more, but the crop as a whole must be more productive.
Sunflower is a typical summer crop that generally finds poor or very poor nutrient soils and limited amounts of nitrogen.
The nutritional requirement of sunflower is about 60 to 70 units of nitrogen per hectare, which could be effectively integrated with the use of specific products based on nitrogen-fixing microorganisms, which are able to transform atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogen available to plants, thus reducing chemical nitrogen inputs to the soil.
Agriges suggests their product Azo Smart, characterised by an isolated microbial consortium registered in a reference microbial collection, Azo Smart can be a great help to farms to supply nitrogen to plants in an innovative and environmentally friendly way.
Azo Smart is more than an ordinary nitrogen-fixing bacteria product as it contains a microbial complexity that enables it to perform multiple beneficial activities for the plant.
The microorganisms Azotobacter chrococcum LS132 and Azospirillum brasilense AGS608 are free nitrogen-fixers that make atmospheric nitrogen available to plants by reducing the amount of nitrogen to be given to the soil and thus preventing losses by leaching, immobilization, and volatilization and increasing the proportion of that element available directly for plant metabolism.
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens AGS282 is a heat-resistant bacterium promoter of plant development, has a direct biostimulating action on the plant, also providing it with greater resistance to abiotic stresses.
Trichoderma longibrachiatum AGS799 is a fungus with very strong adaptive capacities and remarkable growth speed that increases the plant's uptake of water and nutrients and gives it greater resistance to exogenous stresses.
Finally, the presence of the mycorrhizae of the genus Glomus spp. increases the volume of soil explored by the plant and thus the efficiency of water and nutrient uptake; it is also essential to increase the share of phosphorus absorbed by the root system.
In sunflower crops, 2 foliar treatments at 350g/ha are recommended, one after the early stages of development when the plants have 2 leaves, and the other after 20 to 25 days after the last treatment.