FIFTY YEARS WITH THE FERTILISER INDUSTRY
As I reflect on the events occurring in the fertihiser industry over the last 50 years, certain events, discoveries and changes stand out as most significant. These are my personal selections and are presented here in no particular order.
1. Invention of the centrifugal compressor to produce ammonia in huge quantities.
2. Introduction of urea as a major nitrogen source, especially in Asia.
3. The economical method of producing phosphoric acid and subsequently TSP and DAP.
4. Relocation of phosphate factories to North Africa and the USA Gulf Coast.
5. Discovery and development of Canadian potash.
6. Blending of dry materials resulting in conversion to a commodity industry.
7. Development and growth of the fluid industry.
8. Eastern block countries joining the international market.
9. The impact of environn-iental concerns on the manufacture and use of fertilisers.
10. Technical aid given to the less developed countries by the developed countries.
11. Technological contributions made by TVA and others in the research community.
12. The closing down of TVA’s fertiliser research programme.
Frank J Johnson, formerly of TVA, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.
14 pages, 5 figures, 2 tables, 2 refs.
FERTILISERS AND AGRICULTURE: FIFTY YEARS OF DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES
On the 15th November 1945, the Rt. Hon. Tom Williams, M.P., the British Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, made a statement in the House of Commons on Agricultural Policy. This statement expanded on the Government’s intentions as outlined in the Gracious Speech. The objective was, "to promote a healthy and efficient agriculture capable of producing that part of the nation’s food which is required from home sources at the lowest possible price consistent with the provision of adequate remuneration and decent living conditions for farmers and workers with a reasonable return on capital invested". The Minister then went on to outline some ways of achieving this policy which included both the carrot fixed prices for agricultural products, and the stick, dispossession of farmers who were persistently inefficient. The statement also included the provision of free technical advice to improve farming efficiency and the lifting of controls over the distribution of fertilisers, feeding stuffs, machinery, etc., as conditions permitted.
It is interesting that neither Sir John Russell in his inaugural address to the Society 18 months later (Proc. 1) or W.G. Ogg, Director of Rothamsted, in a paper entitled "The role of fertilisers in the national economy" given to the Society in June 1948 (Proc. 3), made mention of this important aim of the Government. Perhaps the goal was so clearly in focus within the agricultural industry at that time that it need not be stated. Certainly the endeavours of each section of the industry led to the ever increasing food security which has been enjoyed by all. A simple but very good illustration of the way that yields increased after the 1950s are grain yields of winter wheat grown on Broadbalk at Rothamsted. After being static, as were national wheat yields, for almost 100 years, yields began to increase with the introduction of cultivars with a high yield potential, the increased use of fertilisers to achieve the potential and the availability of a wide range of agrochemicals to control weeds, pests and diseases and thus allow the crops to achieve their potential. This paper gives a few selected topics within the area of crop nutrition where there have been significant developments in the last 50 years..
A E Johnston, Lawes Trust Senion Fellow, IACR Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK.
30 pages, 14 figures, 8 tables, 25 refs.
THE FERTILISER SOCIETY, 1947-1997
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen, this third lecture will cover the first 50 years of the Society. I have tried to structure it so that I can cover some basic history and then mention specific events and personalities and finish with a look into the future and the next 50 years. I also intend to digress at one or two points to deal with some particular aspects of our life.
I would like to treat the history as a childhood, following our Society from conception through birth, infancy, puberty and adolescence to maturity. Of course I cannot claim to have been involved with the Society throughout the past 50 years but, as Secretary, I have had the unique opportunity to study the archives and records. I am also indebted to some of our ‘older’ members for their recollections. It is on this basis that I present the history to you. I actually joined the Society about half way through this 50 year period but there is certainly at least one person here today who joined in 1947. If he hears anything which is incorrect I hope he will put me right afterwards.
G E N Lance, Secretary, The Fertiliser Society, Peterborough, UK.
15 pages, 1 plate, 3 tables.