Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is added to soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Conservative estimates report 30 to 50% of crop yields are attributed to natural or synthetic commercial fertilizer. Global market value is likely to rise to more than US$185 billion until 2019.
Crop production has increased dramatically over the last few decades, much of which has been due to the widespread introduction of chemical fertilizers starting in the mid 1900s. Matching fertilizer application rates to crop needs is an essential component of optimizing crop production. However, different crops in separate fields will require varying rates of the major nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphate (P2O5), and potassium (potash, K2O)– due to variations in soil types, soil test phos¬phorus and potassium levels, and nutrient ranges of different crops. Meeting these N-P2O5-K2O (sometimes abbreviated to N-P-K) requirements without overapplying any of these nutrients is possible by blending various types of fertilizer to give the correct N-P2O5-K2O ratio. This allows you to apply the correct rate of a particular blended fertilizer. Other considerations such as cost of available fertilizers and crop micronutrient requirements also need to be considered when blending fertilizers.
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