Poor Soil Creates Boron Challenges
With its temperate climate and extensive land and water resources, it is no surprise that a large portion of South America’s economy stems from agriculture. The continent is one of the leading players in the global agricultural market and accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s agricultural exports. In several South American countries, such as Brazil, agriculture is central to the economy. Yet with only about one-eighth of the region’s land suitable for crops, growers need to make the most of the land available to them.
South America can be divided into three physical regions: Mountains and highlands, river basins, and coastal plains. Soil conditions across these regions vary greatly. In the humid tropical regions, soil is naturally low in fertility. About one-fifth of the continent, primarily the coastal plains, is covered by arid soils which make farming risky without irrigation. Other regions are poorly drained, which means that vital nutrients are leached out of the soil. Additionally, large areas are affected by increasing variability in the length of rainy seasons and the occurrence of extreme events such as droughts and floods. Given these conditions, micronutrient deficiencies can severely limit annual crop production.