Colombia's most important banana producers' association has alerted producers about the arrival of El Niño phenomenon and invited them to take all preventive measures for the next six months.
The Banana Association of Colombia (Augura) made a series of nutrition recommendations for banana cultivation under the climatic conditions of the El Niño phenomenon, as this climatic event is expected to hit the country during the first semester of 2019.
The recommendations include the applications of anti-stress nutrients to reduce the negative impacts of low rainfall on banana crops. These nutrients should be applied as an additional measure to the conventional fertilization plan established for the farms.
The association said that producers should apply the conventional doses of nitrogen applications, without increasing them.
"If the nitrogen levels are increased, the plant will become more succulent and vulnerable to dehydration. Use nitrogen sources, such as Ammonium Nitrate (NO NH) or Potassium Nitrate 3 4 (KNO) immediately and until the end of April 2019 following the recommendations made by your farm's technical assistant or marketer," Augura stated.
The guild of banana growers suggested "not using urea, mainly in the absence of irrigation, as you could lose up to 50 percent in dry conditions due to volatility."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States indicated that there is a high probability of decreasing rainfall in northern and eastern Colombia, associated with the occurrence of El Niño for the first half of 2019.
According to the forecast models, there will be a fully developed El Niño from January to March 2019.