What is plant nutrient in agriculture


Most fertilizers that are commonly used in agriculture contain the three basic plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus


Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly reactive, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth. It has a concentration in the Earth’s crust o…

, and potassium. Some fertilizers also contain certain “micronutrients


Micronutrients are nutrients required by organisms throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a range of physiological functions. For people, they include dietary trace minerals in amounts generally less than 100 milligrams/day-as opposed to macrominerals which are required in larger quantities.

,” such as zinc and other metals, that are necessary for plant growth.

Soil is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. The three main nutrients are nitrogen (N

nitrogen (N
Positive nitrogen balance is associated with periods of growth, hypothyroidism, tissue repair, and pregnancy. This means that the intake of nitrogen into the body is greater than the loss of nitrogen from the body, so there is an increase in the total body pool of protein.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Nitrogen_balance

), phosphorus (P

phosphorus (P
Phosphorous acid has a pKa in the range 1.26–1.3. It is a diprotic acid, the hydrogenphosphite ion, HP(O)2(OH) is a weak acid: HP(O) 2(OH) → HPO2−3 + H + pKa = 6.7. The conjugate base HP(O)2(OH) is called hydrogen phosphite, and the second conjugate base, HPO2−3, is the phosphite ion.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Phosphorous_acid

) and potassium (K). Together they make up the trio known as NPK. Other important nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulfur.


What are the three most important nutrients for plants?

  • Structural nutrients: C, H, O
  • Primary nutrients: N, P, K
  • Secondary nutrients: Ca, Mg, S

What provides most plants with nutrients?

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or NPK, are the “Big 3” primary nutrients in commercial fertilizers. Each of these fundamental nutrients plays a key role in plant nutrition. Nitrogen is considered to be the most important nutrient, and plants absorb more nitrogen than any other element. Nitrogen is essential to in making sure plants are …

How do plants obtain nutrients?

Where do plants store nutrients?

  • Plants mostly store their food sources in their roots.
  • Plants generate their own food through photosynthesis.
  • The survival of most living species is reliant on plants.

How does the plant get nutrients?

Plants absorb the water and minerals through their roots, which are suspended in the solution. The nutrient solution circulates throughout the plant’s growing system, providing all of its essential needs for growth. Hydroponics can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference. So that’s how plants get their nutrients.


What do you mean by plant nutrients?

Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements and compounds necessary for plant growth and reproduction, plant metabolism and their external supply. In its absence the plant is unable to complete a normal life cycle, or that the element is part of some essential plant constituent or metabolite.

What are the functions of plant nutrients?

Nutrient Functions in the PlantPlays a vital role in photosynthesis.Regulates water use with stomatal activity.Keeps transportation systems functioning normally.Required for protein synthesis and starch synthesis.Enhances quality by improving disease resistance and stress management.

What are the 5 main nutrients of plants?

They are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium.

How nutrients affect plant growth?

Symptoms of nutrient deficiency may include stunted growth, death of plant tissue, or yellowing of the leaves caused by a reduced production of chlorophyll, a pigment needed for photosynthesis. Nutrient deficiency can have a significant impact on agriculture, resulting in reduced crop yield or reduced plant quality.

What nutrient is most important for plant growth?

The 6 Essential Nutrients for Healthy PlantsGrowing happy, healthy plants is not always easy! … These six essential nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium. … Nitrogen: Nitrate (the form of nitrogen that plants use) helps foliage grow strong by affecting the plant’s leaf development.More items…•

What are the source of plant nutrients?

Soil is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. The three main nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Together they make up the trio known as NPK. Other important nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulfur.

How are plant nutrients classified?

Summary. Plants require 18 essential nutrients to grow and survive, classified by their importance into macronutrients (C, H, O, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and micronutrients (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, Mo, Cl, Co, Ni).

What is NPK fertilizer?

NPK fertilizer provides all the essential nutrients required by plant – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous(P) and Potassium (K). The nutrients for vegetative growth in stems, roots particularly during the early stages, root growth, seed and flower formation, bud growth and ripening of fruits.

What are the nutrients that plants need?

A very few plants need five other nutrients: cobalt, nickel, silicon, sodium, and vanadium.

How do plants get nutrients?

Plants take in almost all of the essential nutrients through their roots. The exception is carbon, which is taken in through leaf pores, or stomata. Two types of organisms living in the soil help the roots take up nutrients: 1 Microorganisms, or microbes, break down organic compounds into inorganic compounds in a process called mineralization. 2 Fungi enable some plants to take up phosphorus by increasing the size of the roots and providing more soil-to-root contact.

How to tell if soil has nutrient problems?

It is hard to tell whether the soil has a nutrient problem just by looking at the plants. Symptoms vary by nutrient and plant species. Common symptoms include: Little or no growth. Dead tissue at the leaf tips, on the leaf edges, or within the leaves. Yellow or dead leaves on one part of the plant only.

What are the five essential nutrients that plants need?

A very few plants need five other nutrients: cobalt, nickel, silicon, sodium, and vanadium. Each essential nutrient affects specific functions of plant growth and development (Table 1). Plant growth is limited by the nutrient that is in the shortest supply (Fig. 1).

What happens if a plant doesn’t have a nutrient?

A plant that lacks an essential nutrient cannot complete its life cycle—the seed may not germinate; the plant may not be able to develop roots, stems, leaves, or flowers properly; or it may not be able to produce seeds to create new plants. Often the plant itself will die.

What is the essential nutrient?

To be used by a plant, an essential nutrient must be broken down into its basic form. The nutrient must be in the form of either a positively charged ion (cation) or a negatively charged ion (anion). A plant cannot use organic compounds, such as those in manure or dead leaves, until they are broken down into their elemental or ionic forms.

What are the primary nutrients?

They are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium.

What is plant nutrition?

Plant nutrition is a term that takes into account the interrelationships of mineral elements in the soil or soilless solution as well as their role in plant growth. This interrelationship involves a complex balance of mineral elements essential and beneficial for optimum plant growth.

What are the elements that are essential for plants?

he distinction between beneficial and essential is often difficult in the case of some trace elements. Cobalt, for instance, is essential for nitrogen fixation in legumes. Silicon, deposited in cell walls, has been found to improve heat and drought tolerance and increase resistance to insects and fungal infections. Silicon, acting as a beneficial element, can help compensate for toxic levels of manganese, iron, phosphorus and aluminum as well as zinc deficiency. A more holistic approach to plant nutrition would not be limited to nutrients essential to survival but would include mineral elements at levels beneficial for optimum growth.

Why are fertilizers used in hydroponics?

Most fertilizers were formulated to account for deficiencies of mineral elements in the soil. The use of soilless mixes and increased research in nutrient cultures and hydroponics as well as advances in plant tissue analysis have led to a broader understanding of plant nutrition. Plant nutrition is a term that takes into account …

Why is calcium used in plants?

Some plants must have calcium to take up nitrogen and other minerals . Calcium is easily leached.

Why do plants need inorganic minerals?

Plants use inorganic minerals for nutrition. Complex interactions involving weathering of rock minerals, decaying organic matter, animals, and microbes take place to form inorganic minerals in soil. Roots absorb mineral nutrients as ions in soil water. Many factors influence nutrient uptake for plants. Ions can be readily available to roots or could be “tied up” by other elements or the soil itself. Soil too high in pH (alkaline) or too low (acid) makes minerals unavailable to plants.

What does it mean when a plant is not being grown to its optimum genetic potential?

The omission of beneficial nutrients in commercial production could mean that plants are not being grown to their optimum genetic potential but are merely produced at a subsistence level. This discussion of plant nutrition includes both the essential and beneficial mineral elements.

Why is phosphate important for plants?

Phosphorus is necessary for seed germination, photosynthesis, protein formation and almost all aspects of growth and metabolism in plants. It is essential for flower and fruit formation. Low pH (<4) results in phosphate being chemically locked up in organic soils.

What are the three basic nutrients in agriculture?

Agriculture Nutrient Management and Fertilizer. Most fertilizers that are commonly used in agriculture contain the three basic plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some fertilizers also contain certain “micronutrients,” such as zinc and other metals, that are necessary for plant growth. Materials that are applied …

What are the three basic nutrients that are used in fertilizer?

Fertilizers made from wastes. Most fertilizers that are commonly used in agriculture contain the three basic plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some fertilizers also contain certain “micronutrients,” such as zinc and other metals, that are necessary for plant growth. Materials that are applied to the land primarily …

What is biosolid fertilizer?

Fertilizers made from domestic septage and sewage sludge (biosolids) Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.

What are the sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution?

Sources and Solutions: Agriculture – Animal manure, excess fertilizer applied to crops and fields, and soil erosion make agriculture one of the largest sources of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the country.

What is commercial fertilizer?

Commercial fertilizer. Commercial Fertilizer Purchased – Fertilizer is a primary source of nitrogen and phosphorus. It often reaches surface and groundwater systems through farm or urban/suburban runoff or infiltration.

What is soil amendment?

Materials that are applied to the land primarily to enhance soil characteristics (rather than as plant food) are commonly referred to as soil amendments. wastes, such as sewage sludge and certain industrial wastes. Overuse of fertilizers has resulted in contamination of surface water and groundwater.

Can agriculture produce manure?

Manure as fertilizer. Agricultural producers can return manure and crop residues to the soil as fertilizers or soil conditioners on their own property unless prohibited by other State or local laws. Animal Production. Animal Feeding Operations.

Which nutrient is absorbed by plants?

Potassium rivals nitrogen as the nutrient absorbed in greatest amounts by plants. Like nitrogen, crops take up a relatively large proportion of plant-available potassium each growing season. Plants deficient in potassium are unable to utilize nitrogen and water efficiently and are more susceptible to disease.

What is the potassium needed for a crop?

Potassium (K) is expressed as K 2 O similar to the way to P is referred to as P 2 O 5. Crop need for K varies. Plants use potassium to open and close stomates and to move nitrates from the roots to the leaves. Potassium rivals nitrogen as the nutrient absorbed in greatest amounts by plants. Like nitrogen, crops take up a relatively large proportion of plant-available potassium each growing season. Plants deficient in potassium are unable to utilize nitrogen and water efficiently and are more susceptible to disease. Most available potassium exists as an exchangeable cation (see below). The slow release of potassium from native soil minerals and from fixed forms in clays can replenish some of the potassium lost by crop removal and leaching. This ability, however, is limited and variable. Fertilization is often necessary to maintain optimum yields. See the table at the beginning of each crop section for the potassium needs for each crop.

What is the nitrogen in compost?

In general, nitrogen becomes less available as the compost matures. Nitrogen in the form of ammonium (NH 4+) or nitrate (NO 3-) is readily available, however in a finished compost there should be little ammonium, and any nitrate that is produced could have leached away, especially if the compost is cured or left out in the open. The majority of the nitrogen in finished compost (usually over 90%) has been incorporated into organic compounds that are resistant to decomposition. Rough estimates are that only 5% to 15% of the nitrogen in these organic compounds will become available in one growing season. The rest of the nitrogen will become available in subsequent years.

What are the two sources of N in the soil?

As can be seen from the N cycle, there are two sources of the N used by plants: ammonium (NH 4) and nitrate (NO 3 ). In addition to commercial fertilizer sources, available N may be added to the soil through mineralization (the microbial conversion of organic N to ammonium and then nitrate) of soil organic matter, manure and other organic residuals, and plant litter.

Why is nitrogen important for soil?

Nitrogen. Nitrogen (N) has a pronounced and often dramatic influence on the growth and yield of crops. Management of soil and fertilizer N is difficult because N undergoes numerous transformations and is easily lost from the soil. These losses concern growers for three principal reasons: 1) N losses can and often do adversely affect plant growth …

How much N is needed for a plant?

The amount of this total N available to plants in any one year, however, is relatively small. Research has shown that for most soils 2% to 4% of the total N is converted (mineralized) annually to forms plants can use. For soil with a total of 4,000 lbs N per acre, a 2% – 4% conversion would produce 80 to 160 lbs N per acre annually for plant use. If the crop needs 200 lbs N per acre for adequate growth and development, some additional N must come from non-soil sources. Manure and/or fertilizer are the most likely candidates to furnish rapidly available N. The rate of mineralization is dependent on microbial activity, especially bacterial activity. Such activity is favored by warm soils with adequate, but not excessive moisture and a pH above 6.0. These conditions are also favorable to most fruit crops. On well-managed soils used for fruit production, 20 to 40 lbs of N per acre will become available during the growing season for each percent of organic matter if the weather is favorable.

What are the differences between N and manure?

Differences in N content are due to the species of animal, the animal’s age and diet, the moisture content of the manure, handling and storage and the amount of bedding in the manure.

What are the basic nutrients that plants need?

History. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are the basic nutrients plants receive from air and water. Justus von Liebig proved in 1840 that plants needed nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Liebig’s law of the minimum states that a plant’s growth is limited by nutrient deficiency.

What are the macronutrients in plants?

The macronutrients are taken-up in larger quantities; hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon contribute to over 95% of a plant’s entire biomass on a dry matter weight basis. Micronutrients are present in plant tissue in quantities measured in parts per million, ranging from 0.1 to 200 ppm, or less than 0.02% dry weight.

How is nitrogen transported?

Nitrogen is transported via the xylem from the roots to the leaf canopy as nitrate ions, or in an organic form, such as amino acids or amides. Nitrogen can also be transported in the phloem sap as amides, amino acids and ureides; it is therefore mobile within the plant, and the older leaves exhibit chlorosis and necrosis earlier than the younger leaves. Because phosphorus is a mobile nutrient, older leaves will show the first signs of deficiency. Magnesium is very mobile in plants, and, like potassium, when deficient is translocated from older to younger tissues, so that signs of deficiency appear first on the oldest tissues and then spread progressively to younger tissues.

What is the role of the root in the plant’s uptake of nutrients?

Nutrient ions are transported to the center of the root, the stele, in order for the nutrients to reach the conducting tissues, xylem and phloem. The Casparian strip, a cell wall outside the stele but in the root, prevents passive flow of water and nutrients, helping to regulate the uptake of nutrients and water. Xylem moves water and mineral ions in the plant and phloem accounts for organic molecule transportation. Water potential plays a key role in a plant’s nutrient uptake. If the water potential is more negative in the plant than the surrounding soils, the nutrients will move from the region of higher solute concentration—in the soil—to the area of lower solute concentration – in the plant.

How does boron affect plants?

Boron has many functions in a plant: it affects flowering and fruiting, pollen germination, cell division, and active salt absorption. The metabolism of amino acids and proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, and water are strongly affected by boron. Many of those listed functions may be embodied by its function in moving the highly polar sugars through cell membranes by reducing their polarity and hence the energy needed to pass the sugar. If sugar cannot pass to the fastest growing parts rapidly enough, those parts die.

Where is phosphorus found in soil?

Phosphorus is most commonly found in the soil in the form of polyprotic phosphoric acid (H 3 PO 4 ), but is taken up most readily in the form of H 2 PO −#N#4. Phosphorus is available to plants in limited quantities in most soils because it is released very slowly from insoluble phosphates and is rapidly fixed once again. Under most environmental conditions it is the element that limits growth because of this constriction and due to its high demand by plants and microorganisms. Plants can increase phosphorus uptake by a mutualism with mycorrhiza. On some soils, the phosphorus nutrition of some conifers, including the spruces, depends on the ability of mycorrhizae to take up, and make soil phosphorus available to the tree, hitherto unobtainable to the non-mycorrhizal root. Seedling white spruce, greenhouse-grown in sand testing negative for phosphorus, were very small and purple for many months until spontaneous mycorrhizal inoculation, the effect of which was manifested by a greening of foliage and the development of vigorous shoot growth.

Why is plant nutrition so difficult?

Plant nutrition is a difficult subject to understand completely, partially because of the variation between different plants and even between different species or individuals of a given clone. Elements present at low levels may cause deficiency symptoms, and toxicity is possible at levels that are too high.

How do nutrients affect plants?

Mineral nutrients in plant tissue increase resistance by maximizing the inherent resistance of plants, facilitating disease escape through increased nutrient availability or stimulated plant growth, and altering external environments to influence survival, germination, and penetration of pathogens. Micronutrient concentrations in plants are important in host ability to resist or tolerate infectious pathogens. The tolerance of host plants to diseases is measured by the ability to maintain growth and/or yield in spite of infections ( Turdgill, 1986 ). The resistance of the host plants is determined by plant ability to limit penetration, development, and/or reproduction of invading pathogens, and the resistance varies with species or genotype of the two organisms, plant age, and changes in the environment ( Graham and Webb, 1991 ).

Which plant system is responsible for improving plant nutrition?

Improvement in plant nutrition is implemented by the most widely distributed plant–microbe systems – mycorrhizae and N2 -fixing symbioses. In the majority of present-day terrestrial plants, N and P nutrition is essentially symbiotrophic. In the case of AM or EcM symbioses, up to 80% of mineral nutrients are obtained by plants from mycobionts.

Why is manure used in early season?

Due to the slow availability of nutrients from manure, early season applications will also be more effective from a crop management standpoint. When manure is composted, volume decreases and nutrient concentration and acceptability for land application increases. Application of composted manure in which most of the nutrients are organically bound allows nutrients to be released slowly throughout the season. Producers should maintain records of suppliers and spreaders of manure and compost along with dates of delivery as well as dates of broadcast. If compost is purchased from a certified supplier, a certificate of analysis should be obtained. Tractors, front-end loaders and other tools or equipment used in manure handling should be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Prevent wash water from draining to water sources, the orchard floor, or any area where harvested nuts are handled or stored.

How does mutualistic interaction affect plants?

Any mutualistic interaction involves a fine balance between the benefits, which plants may obtain from microbes and the costs, which should be paid for these benefits. This balance is based on the energy supply of symbiosis: 20–30% of plant photosynthetic products are invested in the N 2 -fixing or mycorrhizal symbioses. However, these expenses may be returned to the host rather quickly. For example, it is more profitable for plants to obtain P through mycorrhiza than through their own root hairs (that are many times more thick and have much lower surface volume ratio than the hyphae). Moreover, the C cost may be decreased greatly since photosynthesis is stimulated by the symbioses formation. Such stimulation was demonstrated for N 2 -fixing symbioses and mycorrhizae demonstrating a great self-regulatory potential of symbiotic systems.

What is soil fertility?

Soil fertility and plant nutrition encompasses the management of essential elements necessary for plant growth, typically to achieve selected management objectives. Although soil fertility plays a vital role in natural systems, the scope of this article is limited to plant production for human uses (e.g., food, feed, fiber, energy, and landscape esthetics). An element is considered essential if it is required for plant metabolism and for completion of the plant’s life cycle (Epstein and Bloom, 2005; Havlin et al., 2005 ). Typically, 17 elements are considered to meet these criteria and they are divided into macro- and micronutrients ( Table 1 ). This division is based on their relative abundance in plant tissue rather than on their necessity for plant growth. Macronutrients are generally present in plant tissue at concentrations above 0.2%, whereas micronutrients are present below 0.01% (dry weight basis). Carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) are derived from carbon dioxide (CO 2) and water (H 2 O), which are transformed through photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates and are, therefore, present in the highest concentrations of any element in plant tissue. They are not, however, considered mineral elements and are almost always available in amounts necessary for their direct use in complete plant metabolism.

Why are micronutrients important for plants?

Micronutrient concentrations in plants are important in host ability to resist or tolerate infectious pathogens. The tolerance of host plants to diseases is measured by the ability to maintain growth and/or yield in spite of infections ( Turdgill, 1986 ).

What are the factors that affect plant resistance to pests?

The factors by which plants resist pests include physical (surface properties, hairs, color), mechanical (fibers, silicon), and chemical and/or biochemical (stimulants, toxins, repellants) properties ( Marschner, 1995 ). Mineral nutrients can affect these factors to some degree. High amino acids in plants encourage the incidence of sucking parasites. Zinc deficiency can reduce protein synthesis which may lead to the high accumulation of amino acids. Negative relationships were noted between B contents in leaves of oil palm seedlings and attack by red spider mites ( Rajaratnam and Hock, 1975 ). Boron was required for biosynthesis of cyanidin and was related to polyphenol production, which is involved in resistance against some insects ( Marschner, 1995 ). Although Si has not been discussed as a micronutrient, high or adequate Si can restrict fungal and insect penetration of plant cells (and alleviate many diseases) to alleviate many insect and disease problems on plants ( Bélanger et al., 1995; Epstein, 1994, 1999; Menzies and Bélanger, 1996; Savant et al., 1997, 1999 ). Silicon in epidermal cell walls acts as a mechanical barrier to insect and fungal attacks. The importance of Si in insect and disease resistance has been studied extensively in rice, sugarcane, and cucumber ( Bélanger et al., 1995; Menzies and Bélanger, 1996; Savant et al., 1997, 1999 ).

What is plant nutrition?

Plant nutrition is a study that deals with plants’ need for certain chemical elements including their specific and interactive effects on all aspects of plant growth and development, their availability, absorption, transport, and utilization. These chemical elements are referred to as plant nutrients .

How is plant nutrition different from animal nutrition?

Plant nutrition can be differentiated from animal nutrition based on distinctive traits that plants are autotrophic while animals are heterotrophic. This means that plants produce their own food but animals do not. In both organisms, it is this food that serves as a source of energy (chemical energy) that is required in life processes.

What is the science of food?

Pertaining to human nutrition , Wardlaw et al. (2004) provided the following definition from the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association: Nutrition is “ the science of food, the nutrients and the substances therein, their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease, and the process by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances. ” Therefore, the needed chemical elements enter the animal body in the form of whole food and water. But plants absorb these elements in compound form (e.g. CO 2 and H 2 O) and also in ionic forms (e.g. NH 4+, NO 3–, H 2 PO 4–, K + ).

What is the Humus theory of nutrition?

First, it was necessary to disprove the Humus Theory of plant nutrition, that is, that plants are soil eaters. Specifically, it was believed then that plants feed upon the organic matter of the soil, or humus, their major source of nutrition. Rather, it was demonstrated by numerous researchers that it is some chemical elements in the air and water and the minerals in the soil that sustain plant life.

How do plants get energy?

Plants by themselves obtain their own supply of energy from the sun and absorb nutrients from the air and soil. Ultimately they convert these nutrients into organic compounds which serve as storage of chemical energy for later use and as structural components of the plant body. They are therefore self-sustaining and aptly called “autotrophic”.

What is the chemical composition of plants?

In 1804, Nicolas Thiodore de Saussure (1767-1845) confirmed that plants need the carbon dioxide in the air as well as water that is mainly absorbed through their roots. He concluded that the chemical composition of the plant body consists mainly of carbon dioxide that is fixed from the atmosphere with a portion coming from the soil solution.

How did hydroponics culture shed more enlightenment on plant nutrition?

The hydroponics culture introduced by Woodwardmade it possible later to shed more enlightenment on plant nutrition by growing plants in nutrient solutions with varying compositions. The deliberate exclusion of certain chemical elements in the growth medium particularly showed if indeed they are essentially required in plant nutrition based on the criteria of essentiality.

What are the sources of nutrients for crops?

While commercial fertilizers are the major source of applied nutrients, animal manure and other organic materials also contribute nutrients for crop use. Efficient use of nutrients can be achieved by the adoption of best nutrient management practices (BMPs).

What are the nutrients that are needed for food production?

Nutrient Management. Nitrogen, phosphate, and potash are essential plant nutrients for the production of crops used for food, feed, fiber, and fuel. If over applied, though, nitrogen and phosphate can harm the environment.

What is the nutrient recovery rate?

The nutrient recovery rate is the ratio of the amount of nutrient in the harvested crop to the amount of nutrient applied. Partial recovery occurs when the amount applied exceeds the amount removed. For corn, nitrogen recovery efficiency increased from 73 percent in 1996 to 81 percent 2010, while phosphate recovery hovered near 100 percent. For soybeans, phosphate recovery is above 100 percent, suggesting that phosphates are actually mined from the soil. Continued plant mining of phosphate may reduce soil productivity in the long-run.

Why is yield important in corn?

Yield increase is the major factor in improving nutrient use efficiency in corn because higher yield results in more nutrients removed from the soil and thus reduce nutrient losses. Yields (and efficiency) have benefited from increased crop rotation (corn planted after soybeans), soil testing for nitrogen, use of genetically engineered (GE) seeds to reduce pest damage, and adoption of precision technology (like yield monitors and soil mapping).

What is ERS in agriculture?

ERS investigates trade-off between farm income and environmental protection in nutrient use, and evaluates policy instruments to provide technical assistance and financial incentives for farmers to adopt BMPs .


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