What is Fertilizer?

Simply put, fertilizer combines the nutrients that plants need to grow – potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur– in a form they can digest. Think of it as plant food.

As crops grow, they absorb, or mine, nutrients from the soil. When crops are harvested, so too are the nutrients absorbed by plants. Commercial fertilizers nourish the soil by returning the nutrients that next year’s crop will require.

Do farmers need to use fertilizer?

Farmers use fertilizer to replenish the nutrients drawn from the soil, which plants need to grow. When a crop goes to market, so too does the potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen it has absorbed from the soil. When farmers fertilize, they put back into the soil the nutrients their next crop will require.

While the same nutrients in fertilizer are naturally found in soil, they are not present in a sufficient supply for today’s high-yield farming. It can take years – even decades – for soil to rebuild the necessary nutrients essential to nurture a good crop.

What Types of Fertilizer Available in Markets?

There are three types of fertilizer available in Markets :

  1. Organic Fertilizer
  2. Inorganic Fertilizer
  3. Natural or Bi-Organic Fertilizer

Are there chemicals in fertilizer?

The four main ingredients in fertilizer: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and sulphur come from nature. They are not man-made. Fertilizer manufacturers convert them into a form that plants can use.

Fertilizer producers can blend nutrients into precise combinations to match the unique needs of different farms, crops, and fields. In this way, farmers can feed their soils with the most effective and efficient blend of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen to achieve optimal yields.

What are the essential mineral nutrients?

  • Macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur
  • Micronutrients: boron, chloride, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc
  • Essential or beneficial for some plant species, not all: silicon, sodium, cobalt
  • Essential for animals but not for plants: selenium

Is fertilizer harmful to the environment?

Commercial fertilizer has become an indispensable tool in today’s high-yield farming. It requires careful application and use to protect our environment. Fortunately, advances in agricultural techniques are enabling farmers to apply soil nutrients with pinpoint accuracy, minimizing or avoiding any damage to soil, water, and air.

New soil sampling, use of starter fertilizers, and better timing and placement of nutrients mean producers are producing their crops more efficiently. For example, farmers today are producing one-third more corn for each pound of nitrogen they apply, compared to 20 years ago.

If there are already nutrients in the soil, why add more?

When farmers use fertilizer, they are replacing what has been absorbed by plants. Each growing season, crops take all the potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur they need from the earth. At harvest time, these nutrients go to market along with the plants, leaving a shortage for next season’s crop. By fertilizing their land, farmers are completing the ongoing cycle. This recycling of nutrients ensures that subsequent crops get what they need to grow.

While the same nutrients in fertilizer are naturally found in soil, they are not present in a sufficient supply for today’s high-yield farming. It can take years – even decades – for soil to rebuild the necessary nutrients essential to nurture a good crop.

What happens to fertilizer when a crop is harvested?

When a crop goes to market, so too do the nutrients that plants have absorbed from the soil. If farmers do not replace the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and sulphur this year’s crop has used to grow, next year’s plants will not have the food they need.

Fertilizing helps recycle the nutrients that subsequent crops will need to produce high yields. It is nothing more or less than completing this natural growth cycle.