Improving Fertilizer Efficiency Through Technology

Our Anuvia™ Plant Nutrients CCO, Hugh MacGillivray, recently wrote an article for Fertilizer Focus called “The Role of Value-Added Fertilizers in Driving Sustainability” (July/August 2019). Here are some key excerpts from the piece:

Though it might be difficult to imagine now, a little more than a century ago, commercially produced fertilizer did not exist. Farmers throughout the ages have concerned themselves with soil fertility. Historical records date as far back as 430 BC, when Greek historian Xenophan noted that “whatever weeds are upon the ground, being turned into the earth, enrich the soil as much as dung.” However, it was in 1908 that Fritz Haber filed his patent for the “synthesis of ammonia from its elements” an innovation that would later lead to the Haber-Bosch process and the industrial production of fertilizer for agricultural use.

Change is Vital

More than a century later, agriculture is facing renewed pressure to change. There are compelling reasons to implement new, more sustainable practices, from the ecological and financial impact of losing nutrients into the environment, the reduction of soil quality resulting from farming, the contribution of agriculture to greenhouse gas emissions, and rapid population growth.

Increasingly, consumers are demanding that food producers implement eco-conscious practices. Their purchase decisions frequently reflect a desire for food produced using environmentally friendly practices, forcing the supply chain to take note. Food retailers such as Walmart, as well as food companies such as Unilever and General Mills, are responding by seeking out food ingredients that are sustainably sourced.

With these impending pressures in mind, growers are looking to the latest innovations in farming to help them be more efficient and more productive. Advances in agriculture are vast in number and are constantly evolving.

Improving Fertilizer Efficiency Without Sacrificing Profitability

Managing nutrients in the soil requires sustainable practices that not only mitigate farming’s demands on the environment, but also promote soil health, all while taking an approach that allows farmers to increase crop yield using less resources.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur are essential macro-nutrients for healthy plant growth and productivity. Often nutrients from conventional fertilizer are not efficiently used by growing plants and are lost through volatilization or leaching. This loss of nutrition not only results in lost value, but it translates into risk of run off into lakes, streams, and rivers, harming aquatic ecosystems.

In many situations, nitrogen is not efficiently used by the growing plant, and volatilizes into the air in the form of greenhouse gases. These gases contribute to agriculture’s greenhouse gas footprint.

One practical approach to helping farmers meet production and environmental goals that has begun to gain traction is the practice of using sustainable bio-based fertilization strategies. Considered a key contributor to soil health, plant nutrition, and crop yield, innovative fertilizer technology is the path to greater efficiency, productivity, and sustainability.

Formula Moving Forward

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the voice of the fertilizer industry, notes that successful agriculture begins even before the first seed is planted. TFI advocates environmental stewardship measures that protect air and water as well as nutrient management practices that reduce nutrient losses to the environment while increasing availability to the plant.

Enhanced efficiency fertilizer is a good way to accomplish this, by slowing the release of nutrients or altering nutrient conversion to other forms less susceptible to loss. TFI’s sensible and practical 4R Nutrient Stewardship program – using the right nutrient source at the right rate at the right time in the right place – is the underlying principal of the program and is embraced by industry partners who promote Fertilizer Best Management Practices.

Proven Results 

The result of the delivery of nutrients at the right time is crops that deliver higher yields and increased ROI. Repeatedly, through multiple studies and across geographies, SymTRX™ has been proven to increase yields and profits for farmers. Would you like to see the trial results? Sign up and we’ll deliver them to your inbox.

This article includes excerpts from “The Role of Value-Added Fertilizers in Driving Sustainability”, Fertilizer Focus Magazine, July/August 2019.

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