Keywords: nutrient use efficiency, fertiliser, crop nutrition, sustainability, environment.
Use efficiency from applied nutrients (organic or mineral fertilisers) can be improved by following best management principles. Enhancement of use efficiency of applied inputs in agriculture contributes to improved productivity, economic return to farmers and reduced environmental impact in a sustainable way. Best management principles with regard to fertiliser application comprise site-specific actions which take into account the nutrient status of the crop during its development, and the use of tools which allow variable rate adjustments to the nutrient supply with the right product, in the right amount, applied at the right time, through the most appropriate delivery system. Furthermore, the efficiency of any fertiliser depends on its ability to supply the nutrient in the form and amount that matches the changing demand of a particular crop as it develops. Thus success depends upon soil and crop knowledge and perhaps the more difficult decision on appropriate fertilisers and rates. The soil and its condition strongly influences plant development and nutrient uptake processes. Therefore before deciding on any nutrient management program, it is first important to make an overall assessment of the soil type and condition in order to identify factors others than nutrient supply that could potentially limit crop growth.
This paper reviews and discusses the fundamental principles of best fertiliser management and its main performance indices. Focus is given to the application of crop nutrition knowledge and tools to support improvements in nutrient use efficiency in agricultural production. Management considerations and strategies in different cropping systems and climatic conditions will be presented within the context of ‘balanced nutrition’ and best nutrient management principles.
Luis Torres and Axel Link, Yara International ASA, Research Centre Hanninghof, Hanninghof 35, D-48249 DÃƒÂ¼lmen, Germany.
24 pages, 12 figures, 4 tables, 35 references.