See more from this Session: Chemical Fertilizers Advancements: Slow Release and Other New Chemical Amendment Strategies
The improvement of fertilizer efficiency is driven by narrow profit margins, environmental concerns, and resource conservation. Fertile soil is the foundation for food production and successful civilizations. Fertile soil is developed and maintained through the addition of nutrients lost through harvest and/or soil erosion. However, nutrient uptake by plants is inherently inefficient and a portion of these nutrients can be lost to the environment—resulting in negative air and water resource impacts. In addition, poor fertilizer efficiency is a waste of natural resources and potentially reduces yields, crop quality, and grower profits. Nutrient use efficiency (NUE) is increased through using optimal source, rate, timing, and placement. Several new fertilizer materials have been developed to enhance fertilizer efficiency. The modes of action of some of these materials include: 1) slow or controlled release to meet plant need in a more timely fashion, 2) addition of high-charge-density materials that isolate nutrients from interfering elements and compounds, and 3) complexation of the nutrient to enhance solubility. A review of the effectiveness of these materials in terms of crop production and environmental benefits will be presented in this review.