Fertilizers Europe was a supporting partner of the Argus Europe Fertilizer 2019 Trade event on 16-18 October in Malta. During the trade event and on the occasion of Global Fertilizer Day, Fertilizers Europe together with International Fertilizer Society organised a side section focused on the importance of balanced plant nutrition. The side event saw the participation of speakers from International Fertilizer Society, LM agri, EBIC, S.C.A.M spa and Fertilizers Europe who brought on the table different issues related to balanced plant nutrition including the role of organic and organo mineral fertilizers, sulphur, biostimulants and nitrogen use efficiency.
Tiffanie Stephani, Fertilizers Europe's Agriculture and Environment Manager talked about the importance of balanced plant nutrition for improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency.
She started her presentation by explaining the importance of balanced plant nutrition as a vital element of sustainable crop and soil management. "The objective of balanced plant nutrition" she said "is that plants have access to an adequate supply of each nutrient at every growth stage in order to ensure strong, healthy and productive crop growth and minimize nutrient losses in the environment." By illustrating Liebig's barrel principle, Tiffanie highlighted that crop growth requires 17 essential nutrients and a deficiency in one nutrient cannot be compensated by a surplus of any of the others. One nutrient alone cannot ensure the yield, and the balance between the nutrients is essential to ensure reaching yields according to the genetic potential of the crops.
Tiffanie explained that in order to achieve yield and environmental objectives it is important to:
- Implement an appropriate fertilizer planning that includes a combination of organic and organo-mineral nutrient sources
- Use organic nutrient sources in the most efficient way
- Focus on balanced nutrition of all required nutrients
- Use the most efficient mineral fertilizer forms
- Adjust fertilizer rate in season to actual crop demand.
All these practices support the improvement of Nitrogen Use Efficiency, allowing farmer to optimize their yields while at the same time minimizing N losses in the environment
At the end of her presentation, Tiffanie recognized the different regulatory, farming and societal challenges that the agriculture sector is faced when trying to deliver on this objective. Such challenges include the pressure put by the European Green Deal, EU's zero pollution Action Plan, Climate Neutrality by 2050, the price sensitivity nature of the fertilizer market and the fact that environmental impacts are not very often part of farmers purchasing decision due to the many other operational burdens they face. At the same time these challenges also represent an opportunity for the fertilizer sector to demonstrate its contribution in feeding Europe’s economy and the European farming sector.
A close collaboration between the different actors involved can provide with innovative solutions that can support a striving and sustainable agriculture sector in Europe.
If you want to know more, download or Brochure on Balanced Plant Nutrition.