Integrated plant nutrient management
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 , contrary to some beliefs that supporting the use of manufacture fertilizers implies opposing the use of organic sources of nutrients.
Manufactured fertilizers and organic sources of nutrients can, and should, be used in a complementary fashion.
Integrated use of organic and mineral nutrient sources can improve soil fertility, enhance soil organic matter content and improve physical, chemical and biological soil properties. This integrated approach is an appropriate strategy for effective and responsible plant nutrition.
IFA therefore advocates for:
- Sound science as the basis for food and environmental safety standards, applied equally to all nutrient sources used for food production;
- Uniform descriptions of available nutrient content for all commercial fertilizer products, whether of organic or mineral origin.
It should be noted that organic sources of nutrients, like mineral fertilizers, can have negative environmental impacts if not properly managed.
The integration of organic and mineral sources of nutrients should be seen in the context of overall crop production, which includes the selection of crop varieties, pest control, efficient use of water, soil management and other aspects of integrated farm management.