By michans • 28th Jan 2019 • 82 views • 11 comments

Fertilizers are substances that supply plant nutrients or amend soil fertility. They are the most effective means of increasing crop production and of improving the quality of food and fodder. Fertilizers are used in order to supplement the natural nutrient supply in the soil, especially to correct the (yield-limiting) minimum factor.

Fertilizers are soil amendments applied to promote plant growth; the main nutrients present in fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the ‘macronutrients’) and other nutrients (‘micronutrients’) are added in smaller amounts. Fertilizers are usually directly applied to soil, and also sprayed on leaves (‘foliar feeding’).

Organic fertilizers or and some mined inorganic fertilizers have been used for many centuries, whereas chemically synthesized inorganic fertilizers were only widely developed during the industrial revolution. Increased understanding and use of fertilizers were important parts of the pre-industrial British Agricultural Revolution and the industrial green revolution of the 20th century. Inorganic fertilizer use has also significantly supported global population growth – it has been estimated that almost half the people on the Earth are currently fed as a result of artificial nitrogen fertilizer use.

Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions:

The three primary macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

The three secondary macronutrients: calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg).

and the micronutrients or trace minerals: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo) and selenium (Se).

The macronutrients are consumed in larger quantities and are present in plant tissue in quantities from 0.2% to 4.0% (on a dry matter weight basis).

11 Replies | Last update 28th Jan 2019 | Last comment

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