Let’s Talk About Fertilizers and Their Impact on Our Planet

As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the demand for food. To improve crop yields, the agricultural sector relies on agrochemicals, such as fertilizers. But are fertilizers really a good thing or do they have a negative impact on our environment? That’s what we will uncover in today’s blog. Read on to learn more!

The chemical industry is developing new solutions that improve the performance of agrochemicals and facilitate their application. These are additives and adjuvants that are inert to plants, but improve the effectiveness of the formulated product.

Fertilizers are substances rich in nutrients that are used to improve the characteristics of the soil for a greater development of agricultural crops. Among the chemical fertilizers are those made with the “main nutrients” of the soil, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They can therefore also contain highly toxic substances.

The purpose of using fertilizers is to increase their concentration which promotes and improves plant growth.

There are four types of fertilizers:

  1. Organic fertilizers: they are also called fertilizers and are of animal or vegetable origin. Their main advantage is that the use of organic fertilizers improves the condition of the soil and promotes the retention of water and nutrients. For this reason, they are mainly used in organic agriculture. Some types of organic fertilizers are manure, compost and green manures.
  2. Chemical fertilizers – The biggest advantage of using chemical fertilizers in agriculture is that you get results very quickly. Obviously, they improve plant health and increase crop production. However, they must be used effectively.
  3. Biofertilizers: These are plant fertilizers that contain living microorganisms. Like organic fertilizers, they are also used in organic farming because they are very environmentally friendly.
  4. Biostimulants: these also contain micro-organisms. The difference with biofertilizers is that in this case the microorganisms are not used as nutrients but to stimulate plant growth.

On the other hand, the different types of fertilizers are applied to: soil (root), foliage (foliar) and irrigation water (fertigation).

Before considering fertilizer application, all available sources of nutrients should be used, for example, cow, pig, and chicken manure, plant waste, straw, corn manure, and other organic materials. However, these must be composted and decomposed before being applied to the soil. With the decomposition of fresh organic matter, such as corn straw, soil nutrients, especially nitrogen, are temporarily fixed; therefore, they are not available for the subsequent crop.

Even when the nutrient content of the organic matter is low and variable, compost is very valuable because it improves overall soil conditions. Organic matter improves soil structure, reduces soil erosion, has a regulating effect on soil temperature, and helps the soil store more moisture, which greatly improves soil fertility. In addition, organic matter is a necessary food for soil organisms. Organic compost often forms the basis for successful use of mineral fertilizers. The combination of organic manure/organic matter and mineral fertilizers (Integrated Plant Nutrition System, IPNS) provides the ideal environmental conditions for the crop, where the organic manure/organic matter enhances the soil properties and fertilizer supply. Minerals provide the nutrients that plants need. However, compost/organic matter alone is not enough (and is often not available in large quantities) to achieve the level of production desired by the farmer. Mineral fertilizers must be applied in addition. Even in countries where a high proportion of organic waste is used as compost and organic matter, the consumption of mineral fertilizers has been increasing.


The effects of chemical fertilizers on the environment have been widely proven and are indisputable, and it has been shown that their use leads to a high risk of environmental damage, such as contamination of groundwater, degradation of the soils on which they are applied, salt burns. Exaggerated growth, among others. These pass into food, animals and are then consumed by humans.

Therefore, it is necessary to find points of balance and supplement them with fertilizers and organic compounds, in addition to constantly analyzing the soil and plants to ensure that the different values are appropriate and to detect negative reactions in time. What are your thoughts on that matter? Let us know in the comments below.


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