Fertilizers play an important role for soil health. They supplement the natural supply of soil nutrients, build up soil fertility and compensate for nutrients taken by harvested crops or lost to other factors which locally-specific nutrient use management can mitigate.
Fertilizers also help build carbon sinks in agricultural soils, by improving their carbon to nitrogen ratios and maximizing their biomass production, which results in higher levels of soil organic matter (SOM) and soil organic carbon (the core element of SOM).
This process is significant for climate change mitigation, as soils represent the largest pool of carbon on land: they can store up to 50-300 tons of carbon per hectare.
Most agronomists agree that optimal nutrient management entails starting with on-farm organic sources of nutrients and then supplementing them with manufactured fertilizers to achieve the farmer’s yield goal.
Read more below:
Integrated Plant Nutrient Management
The purpose of this policy paper is to address some common misconceptions about organic and mineral fertilizers, examine their similarities and differencies and explain why they should always be used together when possible. When used alongside appropriate soil management practices and crop variety selections as part of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), integrated plant nutrient management (IPNM) can help to ensure that the world's growing population is fed with nutritious food, land productivity is maximized, nutrient losses are minimized, and our soils are healthy and helping to protect the environment.