Thursday, December 01, 2022

A Cordoba family that bets on technology to survive drought

Born and resident of the capital of Cordoba Jesus Maria about 40 years ago, Marcelo Ruizo It is a producer that started with the sale of inputs and then added to the production of extensive crops. Today at the age of 66, Sowing 9,000 hectaresinvolved his daughter and explained why he was fond of irrigation.

He graduated as an agronomist at the University of Córdoba, and since his girlfriend at the time (today’s wife) was Jesus Maria, he married and went there to work in the fields with his brother-in-law. “My father-in-law helped us, a Pingazo, it’s always important to get help when you start out,” he admitted. And he continued: “Later, with a partner, we opened Miro Agropecuria, he was a neighbor of mine, he was already working selling supplies and he convinced me to open something in Jesus Maria, which There was already a competitive market. We started slowly, 38 years have passed since then and although today I am more dedicated to this area, supply sales have remained firm,” said Ruiz.

Two years ago, families were expanding by the involvement of children—daughters in the case, one of each partner—and wondering why, upon the arrival of future grandchildren, they separated the fields. . “We both work with a daughter, in both cases an agronomist,” Ruiz said proudly.

The parent company was Don Toyo – “the name of the first piece of land we bought was already called and that’s what the company was called” -. What Ruiz founded two years ago when they split is called Mother Rock. “The idea came from my wife who is a geography teacher, in the process of soil formation at the base called Mother Rock, where the soil emerges after millions of years,” he explained.

Aerial View Of Roca Madre.

Aerial view of Roca Madre.

that yield?

They were rising very little to the surface. Overall today,They plant about 9,000 hectares By year. The previous operation was 7,800 hectares in the summer, plus some 1,200 winter crops under irrigation,

He estimates that the investment in irrigation can be recovered in 3-4 years., “According to the calculations we have, our area yields twice that of an irrigated land, not to mention that when the year is dry like this, you have a difference of $700-800 that 3K For. 4 years adds up to $2,500-3,000 which represents a well-armed irrigation system,” said Ruiz, who said that irrigation forces you to learn many new things.

areas are Jesus near Maria, is a very fine area and extends to the north about 120 kilometers to Villa María. “The rainfall regime in the last two years has been 500 to 700 mm. “In the north we have been very fair this year,” Ruiz said.

Jewel 4 crops in two yearsturn by turn Soybean-gram/corn-seed-wheat, with irrigation They multiply corn hybrids for a nursery on about 1,300 hectares, “With this complete package, an impressive coverage has been achieved, it has worked us all year round, but we are happy with it,” said Ruiz.

Soy Lot In Jesus Maria.

Soy Lot in Jesus Maria.

As far as yields are concerned, they are “chopping” an average of 9,000 kg/ha of wheat, “which sounds crazy, but it’s not that complicated.” The objective is to produce 9,000 kg/ha of corn (“when you produce seeds it is of low yield, but they pay you as if you had 13,000 kg/ha of Rosario value”); 4,000 kg/ha of soybeans, and chickpeas, “which depending on the year they can or do whatever they want.”

For this campaign, thinking about wheat, Ruiz demonstrated that “fertilizer is expensive, but wheat has a good price.” “We we have decided to keep fertilization“The hardest thing we have to do is phosphorus, not that much nitrogen, you have to provide a lot of phosphorus to crops with such high yields and it costs $2,000 a tonne compared to $700 last year,” said the producer. However, Ruiz insisted: “We are not going to loose it, we are confident to maintain the ground resource And when we made the phosphorus maps we realized that sectors with 15 ppm of phosphorus are already on the verge of abyss because we need to be at least 25-30 ppm.

“If grain didn’t have today’s prices, farming would have been too complicated,” acknowledged the producer.

Almost all the work is done by itself: 90% of the planting, 60% of the crop and almost all fertilization. “We believe it’s worth it, although it is an investment in machinery and people,” Ruiz said.

Most Of The Work In Roca Madre Is Done By Him.

Most of the work in Roca Madre is done by him.

technological advances

subsequent years They intend to end the establishment of the whole area, He has analyzed the soil for every 7-8 hectares, he has taken 1,000 samples. “for me There is no other way, measure, learn and move onFor this we contacted a soil doctor who helps us with the collection and analysis”, said Ruiz. And he added: “We started setting up two years ago, starting with irrigation, but we couldn’t do it alone, and Hiring an Outside Expert Changed Our MindHe also hired Fernando García (Specialist Consultant in Crop Nutrition).

“We started seeing problems, for example, compaction, we chose to seek help in critical areas and it gave us very good results,” Ruiz said. And he continued: “Many of the things we did we felt could be done better.”

Marcelo Ruiz And His Family.

Marcelo Ruiz and his family.

The Cordovan creator, when referring to innovation and what is to come, acknowledged that “he is the oldest in the team, everyone else is young, who has a lot of energy, young people are essential.”

“O Corn King”

Of all the crops that they sow and rotate, corn is the most important to the cordovan grower. “It’s an excellent harvest, plan kingBut we have to turn around, soybean is doing well, but it leaves very little coverage, it is a very good crop, but what pushes us the most is corn,” he said.

Plus, they’ve been making chickpeas for twelve years and it’s great for them. “It’s fantastic, let me tell you, we made 8,000 kg of irrigated wheat, and we made 2,500 in chickpeas and we got the same profit as wheat,” Ruiz said. The risk is that, as it may give 4,000 kg, it may give 1,500, it is unstable.

The good thing is that it requires very little investment. “A chickpea of ​​25 quintals per hectare, which costs $600 a tonne, is compared to the equivalent of 7,500 kg/ha of wheat, today we are convinced that each, half and half, of grass and legumes make a little bit of the most It’s good,” he said..

generational amalgamation

Marcelo Ruiz has three children. Melina, who is in the middle, is the “agronomist”. The eldest son is an architect and the youngest daughter is a psychologist. ,I am glad that Melina has decided to study agronomy and work in the company… we’ll have to see if she thinks the same way”, joked Ruiz.

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“Her contribution is fantastic, she has taken part of the system very well, we all manage several hectares and she has been allocated about 900 hectares,” Ruiz said. They have technical meetings every Monday, but each has the freedom to do what they do and then they analyze it together. Ruiz shared, “Everyone has freedom and if it goes wrong, we correct it later.”

Melina, Marcelo Ruiz'S Daughter, Is Working With Jose Basigalupo, A Consultant On Specialty Crops.

Melina, Marcelo Ruiz’s daughter, is working with Jose Basigalupo, a consultant on specialty crops.

Melissa is 31 years old. “He has personality and I want him to keep it, there he challenges me too and at times he is right, me” I got advice because we had some input frictionbut i understood that You don’t have to cancel your son, you have to share, we both have to growRuiz confessed.

cordovan manufacturer said that Working With Kids Is “Fantastic, But You Have To Find A Way Around It”We’ve both learned.” And he admitted: “Once he went on a trip for a month and got lost without gringe, we made a good group and that was my dream from the start, a To make a good working group.” In addition to technical consultants and experts, there are four engineers, Melina, Marcelo’s daughter, and three more.

“pay well”

In recent years, between social schemes and some other issues (for example, in some areas, lack of connectivity), it becomes difficult to find people, youth, who want to work in this field.

in present Roca Madre has 20 employees., area 12 of them. “A mowing equipment costs $500,000, so if I upload someone who handles it, they may not earn much… I think an operator of these tools should be trained and Must be well paid, otherwise the equation doesn’t end there,” Ruiz summed up. And he emphasized: “If you pay well, it’s not a guarantee that someone will get good, but if you don’t pay well, it’s very difficult for you to get it.”

A Great Team, The Key To Success.

A great team, the key to success.

“None of the employees I worked with today knew what they know today when they entered, we are all learning along the way,” Ruiz said.


Marcelo Ruiz believed that His passion for agriculture and irrigation “drives him crazy”, “It’s crazy for you to press a button and make it rain, ten years after we’ve been watering, it never ceases to amaze me,” he explained.

In the midst of challenges, okay double the irrigated area, To do this, they are already conducting the first study and analysis with the aim of adding 1,000 more hectares.

Aerial View Of Irrigation Circles.

Aerial view of irrigation circles.

Too, They want to set up a “solar plant”We are in talks with EPEC (Provincial Energy Company of Cordoba) to set up two mega. We want to grow livestock with fattening into a coral”, she counted.

“The manufacturer spends what he earns in the sector, whether it is buying an apartment, in construction, buying a car or investing in more production, we do not invest in Switzerland or in bonds and that is why We generate a lot of activity in the area”, said the Cordovan producer. and off: “All we need is they let us workNot because they give it to us, but because they let us do it”.

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