Fertilizer: Why it’s More Important than You Think


    The following content is sponsored by Brazil Potash

    Fertilizer: Why It’s More Important Than You think

    The global population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050. So, in order to feed our growing world sustainably, increased crop production is essential.

    Over recent decades, farmers have been able to more than double their production of crops thanks to fertilizers and the vital nutrients they contain. 

    When crops are harvested, the essential nutrients are taken away with them to the dining table, resulting in the depletion of these nutrients in the soil. To replenish these nutrients, fertilizers are needed, and the cycle continues.

    The above infographic by Brazil Potash shows the role that each macronutrient plays in growing healthy, high-yielding crops.

    Food for Growth

    Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) are three primary macronutrients that are the building blocks of the global fertilizer industry. Each plays a key role in plant nutrition and promoting crop growth with higher yields. 

    Let’s take a look at how each macronutrient affects plant growth.

    Nutrient Why it’s needed? What does it do? What happens without it?
    Nitrogen (N) Needed for the
    formation of all plant
    and animal proteins.
    Nitrogen ensures that
    energy is available
    when and where it is
    needed to maximize
    yield and regulate
    water and nutrient uptake.
    Nitrogen deficiency in
    crops causes stunted
    and spindly plants, low
    protein content in seed
    and vegetative parts,
    and fewer leaves.
    Phosphorus (P) Vital for plant
    Phosphorus allows
    plants to convert the
    sun’s energy into food,
    fiber, and oil. It
    improves how
    efficiently the plant
    absorbs water and
    macronutrients such as nitrogen.
    Phosphorus deficiency
    causes stunted growth,
    reduced crop yields,
    low quality harvests,
    and moisture stress.
    Potassium (K) Essential for robust
    high quality crops.
    Potassium helps
    regulate water pressure
    in plant cells and
    maximizes crop yields
    by strengthening plant
    stems to make them
    more resilient to
    drought, flooding, and
    temperature swings.
    Potassium deficiency
    causes a slower growth
    rate of plants, delayed
    pollination and maturity,
    underdeveloped leaves,
    reduced crop yields,
    weakened stalks, and moisture stress.

    If crops lack NPK macronutrients, they become vulnerable to various stresses caused by weather conditions, pests, and diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a balance of all three macronutrients for the production of healthy, high-yielding crops.

    The Importance of Fertilizers

    Humans identified the importance of using fertilizers, such as manure, to nourish crops dating back to nearly 6,000 to 2,400 BC.

    As agriculture became more intensive and large-scale, farmers began to experiment with different types of fertilizers. Today advanced chemical fertilizers are used across the globe to enhance global crop production. 

    There are a myriad of factors that affect soil type, and so the farmable land must have a healthy balance of all three macronutrients to support high-yielding, healthy crops. Consequently, arable land around the world varies in the amount and type of fertilizer it needs. 

    Fertilizers play an integral role in strengthening food security, and a supply of locally available fertilizer is needed in supporting global food systems in an ever-growing world.

    Brazil is one of the largest exporters of agricultural goods in the world. However, the country is vulnerable as it relies on importing more than 95% of its potash to support crop growth.

    Brazil Potash is developing a new potash project in Brazil to ensure a stable domestic source of this nutrient-rich fertilizer critical for global food security.

    Click here to learn more about fertilizer and food production in Brazil.

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