2023 Argentina Ag Tour – March

As growth in sales and brand recognition continues at an upward trend within the Australian agricultural market, our Australian team were invited to tour Argentina this past March at the request of our Global Director, Pablo Lafuente. Owing to this invitation, was the opportunity to present Spraytec’s global presence, our foundations in becoming a reputable and trusted company, the keys to successful network relations in South America that led to our expansion, as well as the highly anticipated attendance of ExpoAgro; the largest agribusiness trade show in Latin America.

With much excitement, we were encouraged to promote and facilitate a 10-day Ag Tour of Argentina with loyal clients and business partners from Western Australia! Inviting farmers, agronomists and managers created a highly dynamic group, with those contacted being chosen according to select criteria involving product purchased, product sold and commitment shown to our Spraytec brand. As 10 invites were confirmed and locked in, we proudly had representation across all regions of the wheatbelt, from Esperance in the south, through Ravensthorpe, up to Narembeen and across into the Avon Valley.

International transit and exploring Buenos Aires

After initial introductions and attending to pre-flight nerves with a few departure drinks, we embarked on a close-to 33-hour journey that would take us from Perth to Dubai, briefly touching the tarmac in Rio de Janiero, before landing in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. Arriving for the weekend allowed the group to bond, share a laugh, and explore the unfamiliar yet captivating surrounds. Notable cultural immersion opportunities were arranged such as attending a tango show, visiting the famed La Boca precinct; home to the renowned blue and yellow of the Boca Juniors soccer team, touring the cityscape by bus and on foot, and succumbing to the renowned Argentina BBQ; the asado. Unaware to us at the time, this would be the first of many, not that we were complaining (for now)!

A taste of Argentine agriculture

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires, we travelled to the outskirts of the city to experience a ranch or ‘gaucho’ style lunch. Meat and wine were again consumed, as the group aimed constructive driving tips towards our bus driver with little success or acknowledgement. Venturing a further 300km south-west produced some rollercoaster-like thrills on the roads until we eventually reached the town of Nueve de Julio. With corn and soybean crops as far as the eye could see, we were enthralled by the production capacity despite the country experiencing its worst drought in over 60 years. Ranked as the world’s top exporter of processed soy and 3rd for corn, there have been repeated cuts to harvest forecasts that have consequently deepened the national economic crisis, crushing farmers and heightening default fears. Exacerbated by high temperatures and severe lack of rainfall, many areas of the country have suffered at least 8 heat waves in the 22/23 season. Difficult to comprehend the situation from a distance, as is the case of living in Australia, it was quite alarming to observe first-hand. Visiting and hearing from local growers and retailer managers further provided an important local perspective into the constraints being experienced, both environmentally and economically, but also politically. However, it was comforting to hear that the Spraytec product range was playing a role in sustaining crop health and yields despite the difficult conditions.

Figure 1: Argentina’s 22/23 soy harvest is expected to be the lowest since the turn of the century.
Visiting La Madrugada Agropecuaria in Nueve de Julio, Buenos Aires Province, where we listened, shared and discussed with managers and agronomists all aspects regarding agriculture.

The city of Lionel Messi (and Spraytec Argentina)

Next stop, Rosario; the birthplace of Argentina’s flag, home to Lionel Messi, a major river port, the epicentre of Argentina agriculture, and above all this, the location of Spraytec Argentina’s head office and factory. Not a bad introduction for Argentina’s 3rd most populous city. Safe to say, this was one stop high on everyone’s lists and now provided us as a base camp for the rest of the tour. First on the list of activities was a visit to Spraytec Argentina’s head office to hear from Agustin Bianchini; an independent agronomist for Okandu and Spraytec advisor. Delivering a comprehensive presentation into the local ag industry and the Spraytec portfolio, the group engaged in constructive discussion regarding the local industry and the influence Spraytec has garnered. Agustin further assisted in explaining the concepts behind Spraytec patented product formulations. These formulations were created with the intention of including 3 fundamental ingredients present in every Spraytec product;

  1. Patented application technology providing as an all-in-one tool and enhancing overall spray efficacy
  2. Chelated nutrients which complement uptake and translocation, as well as improve yield potential
  3. Phosphites that promote plant health, own defences, and assist with uptake and translocation

Following on from our head office experience, Agustin arranged a trial visit with Cárcamo Consultants Tati and Juani Cárcamo, who had an extensive soybean trial in progress. Showcasing various Spraytec products, the group were impressed by the improved health of plots treated with Spraytec products. Visual results were particularly significant due to the effect of the drought.

Meeting at Spraytec Argentina’s head office in Rosario with an informative presentation from independent agronomist and Spraytec advisor, Agustin Bianchini (front-left).

Complementary John Deere and Louis Dreyfus Company experiences

Part of our commitment to providing complete experiences on this tour, was to arrange opportunities to learn from and explore other agricultural companies and markets. First up, a visit to the John Deere factory, where we witnessed first-hand the entire manufacturing process of various machines. Impressed with the attention to detail and the rigorous quality control measures employed, we enjoyed being hosted by such a professional outfit. Following tractors and harvesters, an insight into grain handling and delivery was suggested. Consequently, a trip to Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC)’s General Lagos agro-industrial complex was confirmed, where we observed the logistical operations involved in the export of agricultural commodities such as soybean and corn. This visit provided valuable insights into the supply chain process, with LDC Operation Manager’s providing a holistic view in their business and management. As one of Argentina’s largest grains and oilseeds facilities in terms of volumes, the facility has the capacity to ship more than 5 million tonnes of grain annually from its port, whilst also comprising of the world’s largest soy-based biodiesel, lecithin and glycerin processing plants, as well as two soybean crushing lines with annual processing capacity of up to 2.8 million tonnes.

Experiencing the Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC)’s General Lagos agro-industrial complex alongside the Paraná River.

ExpoAgro, that’s it

The highlight of the tour no doubt, a day at the all-encompassing ExpoAgro will stick with us for some time. Delivering numbers that don’t seem believable, ExpoAgro 2023 hosted over 100’000 visitors with representation from 25 different countries. Across 4 days, the show turnover reached US$1.2 million with help from over 600 exhibitors that made up the 500’000 square metres of exhibition grounds. It was here the group were provided the perfect opportunity to connect with industry peers, discover the latest agrochemical solutions and learn about emerging trends in the industry; albeit through broken English and kilometres of walking. Spraytec Argentina were centre show, with site boundaries shared with other major chemical and seed companies. Informative laboratory-like workshops, on-site plot trials, and visual demonstrations were all conducive to emphasising the benefits and credibility of Spraytec products. The inclusion of plot trials in an expo-type environment was something that resonated heavily with the group, as you were able to hear about a product, view its performance across various demonstrations and then compare plot treatments immediately. Potentially a method that Australia should consider across future trade-shows or major events.

Attending ExpoAgro 2023 with Spraytec Argentina playing host to us and our Australian clients.

Our appreciation and thanks

Another Spraytec Ag Tour, and another exceptional experience that showcased our innovative technology, our global presence and reinforced our commitment to building strong business relationships. Intended as a reward to our clients, every effort was made to create a sense of community and camaraderie amongst the group. The daily activities provided ample opportunities for participants to connect, share knowledge, and foster strong business relationships. It was heartening to observe the positive response from the participants, and we were thrilled to see our Western Australian clients forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones. The fact that a group was able to connect together so well with limited prior meetings is a fantastic reflection of our industry. We would like to thank all those who attended for their participation and look forward to consolidating these relationships into the coming years.

Please follow us on our socials or get in touch with your local retailer to ensure you don’t miss out on the next tour opportunity!