Quality Food With Fertilizer – Introduction
Soil is the medium for plant growth. For Sustainable plant and animal production this medium must be supplied with adequate major and minor nutrients that are essential for plant and animal growth. To support plant and animal production soil nutrient levels must be maintained. Assuming soil pH is satisfactory the common limiting major nutrients are Nitrogen (N); Phosphorus (P); Potassium (K) and sometimes Sulphur (S).
All of these nutrients are involved in key processes within the plant and a deficiency of any one will limit plant growth, whether it be grass for animal consumption or root and cereal crops for both human and animal consumption.
World population today stands at 7 billion and is expected to increase to 8.0 billion by 2020. Cereals are the world’s most important stable nutrient source and to meet future demand cereal production will need to double by the year 2020. Production of other foodstuffs will also have to increase significantly.
Fertilizer, both organic and inorganic, will have to play a vital role if the food production necessary to support the increased population is to be provided.
Efficient recycling of organic manure will provide some of the nutrients necessary but modern crop production will need additional nutrients in the form of inorganic fertilizers. Such nutrients are not artificial, i.e. the nutrients in inorganic fertilizers are natural products and simply supply the shortfall necessary for sustainable crop production.
Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are naturally occuring elements, which are processed into forms which are readily available for crop growth.
In conclusion, application of inorganic fertilizer is simply the addition of nutrients to the soil nutrient pool, necessary for crop production. It is misuse of fertilizer or the use of them at the wrong rates and times that lead to environmental damage. The purpose of this pamphlet is to outline a code of practice for optimum production without damaging the environment.