“Agricultural production cannot do without fertilizers and consequently the value chain that feeds the industry,” said Dr. Ricardo Melgar a few years ago. Today, we are saying goodbye to him with deep regret after he passed away on 3 February 2019 after struggling with a severe illness.
Ricardo was an agronomist who received his degree in 1978 from the National University of the Northeast, Argentina. He joined the National Agricultural Research Institute (INTA) with a scholarship and began his career at the INTA experimental station of Bella Vista, Corrientes. In 1989, he obtained a PhD in soil fertility from the State University of North Carolina in the US and, in 2001, completed a Master’s in agribusiness at the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires.
In 1994, Ricardo became Coordinator of the Soil Management Program at INTA Pergamino, where he worked as a Principal Researcher, coordinating research groups on soil fertility and fertilizer management - a role he also undertook for the subprogram of the Soil Management Institute for the Humid Regions. He conducted and coordinated countless fertilizer experiments during his fertile career and his work has led to an increase in more balanced nutrient use in Argentina, as well as improved sustainability of agricultural soils.
Ricardo had more than 30 years of experience across Argentina and Mercosur and was a senior consultant for various fertilizer and agribusiness companies, operating in fertilizer and grain markets in Argentina and the wider region. He created and coordinated FERTILIZAR, a joint project between INTA and Argentinean fertilizer companies, which carried out field work on fertilization for increased crop production and maximimum farmer profit.
As a leader in transferring knowledge on soil fertility and fertilizer use to farmers, Ricardo was also the author of countless technical publications related to fertilization. His impressive body of work addresses the whole chain, from field experiments and detailed basic research, to last mile delivery in the form of publications, courses, meetings and electronic media.
Ricardo generously shared his talent and skills and exemplified the qualities of an outstanding, dedicated professional, who had a gift in making complex subjects understandable.
An accomplished communicator, he was a humble and approachable person who loved to share information with students and farmers. As a true collaborator, Ricardo worked seamlessly with researchers, field workers, students, agronomic consultants from private companies, extension workers, farmers associations, international institutions and, of course, farmers.
Ricardo was also a longtime collaborator with IPI. As a prolific IPI partner, we highlight, in particular, an extensive long-term fertilizer research across six experimental stations over five seasons, which yielded crucial information regarding nutrient uptake and soil fertility management in Argentina. From IPI, we recognize Ricardo’s valuable contribution to crop fertilization and we thank him for his dedication to the care and sustainability of soils. We will miss him a lot. Rest in peace, our friend.