The supply, distribution and handling of fertilisers in the UK have developed significantly in recent years. This paper considers the major influences which have contributed to the industry’s present form. The current distribution and storage systems are described.
The fanner’s position is also considered, particularly his special requirements and his influence on the way the fertiliser industry has developed. The direction of short term changes in the system are discussed and reasons for the likely growth in the Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) style of packaging are detailed, Comment is made on the responsibility of the industry in persuading farmers to operate safer materials handling systems, particularly as the trend will be towards increased unit load size.
The future needs of the farmer are discussed and it is concluded that further mechanisation of farm handling will occur as the farmer increases working rates and bout widths and thereby increases the volumes of fertiliser being handled daily. The influence of the decreasing farm workforce on mechanisation progress is also discussed.
In the future agriculture will be based on the direct use of much more information concerning crop production and weather forecasting. Operations will be based on mechanisation systems in which fertiliser application is a part. Greater care will be taken of soil and water to reduce compaction and to prevent pollution. Systems to provide information about the nutrients in the soil will become available. Fertiliser application will be based on that information and nutrients will be applied several times during the growing season with separate fast working broadcasting mechanisms. A major proportion of fertiliser will be injected in the soil.