What are the fertilizers?

09-09-2019    18:52   |    Goedemorgen

Fertilizers are any solid, liquid or gaseous substances containing one or more plant nutrients.

Fertilizers are any solid, liquid or gaseous substances containing one or more plant nutrients.

They are either applied to the soil, directly on the plant (foliage) or added to aqueous solutions, in order to maintain soil fertility, improve crop development, yield and/or crop quality.

The purpose of fertilizers are to supplement the natural supply of soil nutrients, build up soil fertility in order to satisfy the demand of crops, and to compensate for the nutrients taken by harvested products or lost by unavoidable leakages to the environment, in order to maintain good soil conditions for cropping.

What are plant nutrients?

As a precondition for growth, health and the production of nutritious food, plants require essential nutrients (macro and micronutrients) in sufficient quantities.

Seventeen elements have been shown to be essential for plants: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulphur (S), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), nickel (Ni). Furthermore, additional elements may be essential to a few plant species, e.g. sodium (Na) and cobalt (Co).

Carbon, H and O are obtained from the atmosphere and water, and are not considered mineral elements. The remaining essential elements can be divided into three groups: primary macronutrients (N, P and K), secondary macronutrients (S, Mg and Ca) and micronutrients (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B, Mo, Cl and Ni) based on average concentrations in plants. If a single essential plant nutrient is available in insufficient quantity, it affects plant growth and thus the yield.


Half the food we eat today is produced thanks to mineral fertilizers They provide crops with the essential nutrients to their growth and health, which helps increase yields and food production. Fertilizers are used in every corner of the globe to support sustainable agricultural production and food security. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

With the world population expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, the agricultural sector needs to increase its productivity by 60% compared to 2005 levels to meet the increasing demand for food. This must be accomplished in the context of the shrinking availability of arable land. Achieving global food security today and in the future cannot be achieved without fertilizers.

Click here to read the complete article at IFA.

Photo credit: Amit Dave, REUTERS

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