The keys to advancing sustainable production systems, according to The Mosaic Company Crop Nutrition Lead Taylor Purucker, are healthy soils and proper plant nutrition.
As the agriculture industry works toward increasing its production to feed the growing world population, sustainability is a key factor in this journey. Sustainable growing solutions are vital components to ensuring the land we have is used to its most productive ability. Therefore, healthy soils and plant nutrition are essential for achieving sustainable food production.
“We have to feed the plants that feed us, and it’s estimated that up to 60 percent of crop yield is dependent on soil fertility,” Purucker said. “The crop nutrition industry really needs to deliver innovative, sustainable fertilizers to help farmers maximize yield and achieve this really large task of feeding the world, but I think we also need to do it by being stewards of the land.”
Advancing sustainable crop production
The road to regenerative farming from traditional methods is a long one, with many stops along the way. Today’s agriculture industry is facing many changes. In the new paradigm for plant nutrition created by the Scientific Panel on Responsible Plant Nutrition, where improving income, productivity, nutrient efficiency and resilience throughout the ag supply chain is at the center, soil health is an important part of the conversation.
“The foundation for creating sustainable systems begins at the farm level with management practices,” Purucker said. “I think where the crop nutrition industry will land in the next five years, or maybe even here in 2021, is focusing on soil health and how crop nutrition technologies can advance sustainable production systems.”
Advanced crop nutrition is defined as a combination of understanding which nutrients are needed for healthy soils and plant growth, as well as how to manage crop nutrition with the 4R nutrient framework—applying the right source and rate of fertilizer at the right time and place. This requires farmers to have access to valuable information, tools and products.
A holistic approach to healthy soils
“As a farmer, soil is really our most valuable asset, and we need to take care of the soil by implementing advanced crop nutrition strategies that ensure sustainable food production year after year,” Purucker said. “This means providing balanced crop nutrition for healthy plant growth.”
Enter Sus-Terra™ fertilizer from The Mosaic Company. The phosphate-based fertilizer is comprised of 15% recycled organic matter and increases microbial activity to help promote the long-term health of the soil. It also helps growers adopt sustainable practices while increasing return on investment (ROI), promoting greater yields, and improving nutrient efficiency. Sus-Terra fertilizer qualifies as an Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer (EEF) as it contains 30% slow-release nitrogen. EEF products reduce nutrient losses to the environment while increasing nutrient availability to the plant or crop.
“This technology has been built and positioned to provide the benefits of healthy soils, balanced crop nutrition, and environmental stewardship, but all of these things need to work together to increase ROI for the grower,” Purucker said. “This technology does a really good job of doing that, so not only can we be sustainable from an economic perspective for the grower, but we can also provide the advantage of increasing soil health and optimizing the continued capacity of the soil.”
To explore this topic further, view the webinar, which is approved for .5 CCA credits in Nutrient Management, on the CropLife website.
LISTEN NOW: Meeting the World’s Increasing Food Demands with Advanced Crop Nutrition (Audio)
With permission, this article was adapted from an article in the April 2021 issue of CropLife magazine.