BC Insight - Nitrogen+Syngas, Sulphur, Fertilizer International
Login
BCInsight Ltd
China Works
Black Prince Road
London, SE1 7SJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 2567
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 2577

Publication > Issue > Articles

The enternal enigma

Summary

Better news, at last, from Russia and other members of the former Soviet Union (FSU). After six years of unprecedented political, economic and social upheaval, marked by unrest and falling economic indicators, Russia has posting some encouraging figures for the first three months this year, which point to a revival in GOP and the virtual elimination of inflation. The international lending institutions are also encouraged by these developments, and much-needed capital is being injected into the region. Does this bode a comparable upturn in the fortunes of the FSU fertilizer sector?

Abstract

Six years ago, Russia and the other republics of the Former Soviet Union renounced communism and embarked on their self-proclaimed quest to transform their state-controlled dirigiste economies into capitalist ones. They did so with varying degrees of commitment, and not every republic shared Russian President Yeltsin's reformist zeal. Even in Russia, modernisation has been painful, and reports ofsocial upheaval, disruption in many key economic sectors including agriculture - and alarming tales of criminality pervading into many areas of economic life have accompanied the success stories. It is appropriate to take stock ofthe progress made so far, and evaluate how this has impacted on the FSU's fertilizer sector.

Add to basket


Learning a new culture

Summary

Contrary to earlier expectations, the demise of the communist regime did not see the bulk of the FSU fertilizer industry wither on the vine, and export markets provided a lifeline. However, the recent downturn in international market prices and volumes pose a new threat to the viability of the region's fertilizer industry, and while domestic demand remains weak, FSU fertilizer producers must face further challenges to their long-term prospects.

Abstract

The years since the demise of the Soviet Union have been turbulent ones for the regional fertilizer sector, and the collapse of domestic demand has been compounded by numerous other factors. Having an inherent advantage as a low-cost producer of nitrogen fertilizers enabled many FSU producers to stave off the worst effects ofthe deteriorating homemarket situation, for they were able to seek offshore sales, and these have generated vital hard currency. The producers' plight was eased also by the steadily rising international market from mid-1994 onwards, bur in recent months, prices have fallen precipitously as the volume of tonnage ran ahead ofprevailing demand. Adjusting to this less favourable market will provide a stern test for the FSU nitrogen exporters - especially as domestic demand shows little immediate sign of returning to pre-1990 levels.

Add to basket


Maximum yields from scarce resources

Summary

Against all odds, Israel has built up a thriving agricultural system based on extremely limited water resources and unfavourable soil conditions. The development of fertigation systems, whereby fertilizers and other inputs are applied at the same time as water, has proved the basis of this success. In this article, Hillel Magen, ChiefAgronomist of Dead Sea Works Ltd., explains the Israeli experience and approach to sound nutrient management.

Abstract

Israel's semi-arid climate and high population density have made the country's agriculture exceptionally innovative. In recent years, efforts to conserve scarce water resources have led to the development of the concept of fertigation, which is the process of applying solid or liquid fertilizers to crops via pressurised irrigation systems. Fertigation has proved to be particularly suitable for limited wetted area irrigation (microirrigation) .

In Israel, fertigation with N, P and K is the most common - and often the only - method of fertilising orchards, vegetables, banana plantations and greenhouse crops, and drip-irrigated field crops, such as cotton and maize. Israel is the world leader in the use of fertilizers by fertigation. In 1996, the N:P:K application rate averaged of 115, 46 and 57.5 kg/ha of N, P20S and K20. Over 50% of the Nand P fertilizers and 65% of potash are applied to crops of all kinds via fertigation systems. For potash, clear liquid NPK solutions or soluble complex or binaty fertilizers are the most common formulations.

Add to basket


Haifa chemicals spreads its wings

Summary

As the world's leading producer of potassium nitrate, Haifa Chemicals Ltd. is enjoying record sales as this high-value product becomes increasingly accepted by growers throughout the world. The company's range of fertilizers also includes magnesium nitrate, whose agronomic benefits are described in this article.

Abstract

Haifa Chemicals Ltd. was established in 1966 to convert locally- produced potash and phosphate rock into high added-value products - potassium nitrate and phosphoric acid - through the use ofa unique patented process. The company is today the world's largest producer of potassium nitrate, which is an increasingly important fertilizer in modern agriculture. Haifa has continued to invest in modern production capacity and in expanding its range ofhigh-quality products, and in the first quarter of1996, the company restructured its operations into three core businesS divisions:

  • Speciality fertilizers
  • Horticulture
  • Industrial.

 

Add to basket


The vital link

Summary

Dead Sea Works Ltd. (DSW) produces a pure white potash from carnallite precipitated in evaporation ponds. Unlike coloured red potash, the DSW product contains no insoluble Fe impurities, which tend to clog drip systems. In this article, Hillel Magen outlines how this product has been developed to suit the special needs of fertigation.

Abstract

In Israel, between 50-65% of total K consumed is applied through fertigation systems, in the form of KCI, KN03, MKP and K2S04• Of this total, 65% oftotal K consumed is through KCl, the rest as non-Cl fertilizers. About 50% of all N, P and K nutrients, including KCI, are supplied through fertigation. Israel has gained invaluable experience in the concept offertigation: farmers, extension officers and researchers have a vast knowledge, both in terms of irrigation (quantity of water to apply, scheduling, monitoring, technical aspects) and fertilisation practices (plants' needs, available nutrients in soil/media, uptake curves). The domestic fertilizer market offers a wide range ofliquid and solid-soluble fertilizers, including over 100 formulations of liquid fertilizers and tailor-made solutions for large customers. Almost all horticultural crops and most of the summer field crops are fertigated. Irrigation in Israel is only through pressurised irrigation systems which allow fertigation.

Add to basket


A practical vision of the future

Summary

Agriculture in the developed western world faces a fundamental challenge to produce crops efficiently, but without any adverse effect on the environment. The two criteria may appear difficult to reconcile, and the drive to achieve maximum yields has left the farming community open to allegations that it is having an adverse effect on the rural environment. However, advocates of a wholesale return to organic farming often fail to acknowledge that yields would fall as soil fertility was not adequately maintained. In the UK, CWS Agriculture has teamed with Norsk Hydro and ProFarma to evaluate farming techniques which combine the best practices of both organic and high-yield agriculture. FI recently had the opportunity to view progress with these projects.

Abstract

In the United Kingdom, the Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (FMA) has for long recommended a balanced approach to the nutritional needs ofboth arable and forage crops. It recognises that, while the theory is appealing, the practice is more difficult. The ideal is to apply just sufficient nutrient to meet the crop's needs - and no more. It is an ideal that the Western European fertilizer industry has willingly espoused, in conjunction with other interested groups, and several avenues are being explored. One is in the research and development of new fertilizer products, which control the release of their nutrients in line with the plant's actual requirements. Impressive strides have been made down another path: the concept of precision agriculture has brought the fertilizer suppliers into alliance with the manufacturers of application equipment.

Add to basket


Fulfilling the promise

Summary

In 1995, the US company, AmiLar International, was formed to commence the marketing of a new type of nutrient absorption enhancer - AmiSorb - which had shown remarkable results following extensive testing on corn, wheat, cotton, soyabeans and vegetables. This article examines some of the claims made for AmiSorb.

Abstract

Farmers throughout the world can choose between many innovative products which promise to raise crop yields and increase the efficiency of fertilizer use. Some products, however, have not survived for long in a competitive and unforgiving market-place: they may be too expensive, or they ultimately failed to live up to their extravagant claims. Thus, it is easy to understand why farmers often react with scepticism when yet another new product is launched which offers remarkable results.

Add to basket


Zinc for yield and quality

Summary

All crops respond well to increased application of the primary N, P and K nutrients, but in some cases, the response may be muted if the availability of micronutrients is inadequate. Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are becoming more prevalent, leading to lower yields and quality, and research has identified zinc deficiency as a particular problem. How Zn may be best applied is reviewed in this article.

Abstract

The growth and development of plants depend on the balanced availability of nutrients which can normally be found in the soil. The micro-elements playa fundamental role in the bio-chemical processes of the plants, even though they may be present in small quantities. These processes include chlorophyllous photosynthesis, the respiration process and the formation of proteins.

The availability of micronutrients to a plant are not only a function of their actual presence in the soil, but also depends on the interactions between the nutrient ele~ents,on the sdil pH (in alkaline soils, micronutrients are barely available), and on the other chemical components which determine the solubility ofthe ions having a variable charge.

Add to basket