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Haifa Blog


Chemical fertilizers: advantages and disadvantages

In the world of intensive agriculture, chemical fertilizers are frequently used. These fertilizers are made artificially from soil-essential macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, making them robust and powerful. They may contain ammonium sulfate, urea, potash and ammonia, among other substances, depending on their structure and the crops and soils for which they are intended. These fertilizers can be applied and spread in a variety of methods, either mechanically or by hand. 
What are the advantages and disadvantages of chemical fertilizers in addition to all of these essential aspects?


Advantages of chemical fertilizers

The versatility of chemical fertilizers is undeniable: they possess properties that match the high expectations and needs of intensive agriculture. 
The following are some of the advantages offered by this type of product:


► Higher production per hectare

Chemical fertilizers improve the spaces and surfaces available for agricultural work. 
Because of their high contribution of macronutrients, these can encourage higher yields per hectare sowed and help plants develop to their full potential. 
These fertilizers, in addition to boosting nutrient absorption from the soil, increase the depth of the roots by up to one meter: as a result, the plants are considerably stronger and can be fully supplied by the under-ground waters.


► Soil adjustment

Different soil elements, such as very low or high acidity levels, can be adjusted through the application or usage of fertilizers that complement other chemicals and procedures, such as liming. In addition to other natural and environmentally friendly products, the moderate and conscious use of these products helps agricultural soils preserve their quality and fertility for fresh production cycles.


► Reaction to critical cultivation scenarios

When severe crop problems arise and plants do not appear to be developing properly, chemical fertilizers might provide an immediate answer. Through foliar treatments, N-P-K fertilizers – which include nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – can boost the health and expectations of plants in advanced stages of cultivation. This practice consists of diluting the fertilizer in water to propagate it directly in the area of the plant.

► adaptability to specific needs
These fertilizers have distinct chemical features as well as accurate indices of various nutrients, substances, and values.
As a result, you can find items tailored to your demands on the market, with precise values and features to fulfill your needs in specific scenarios or stages of the cycles.


Disadvantages of chemical fertilizers

The previous paragraph highlighted chemical fertilizers' enormous potential. However, keep in mind that intensive use of chemical solutions for fertilization might have serious effects.

As a result, it is required to identify equilibrium points and supplement them with fertilizers and organic chemicals, as well as to regularly analyze soils and plants to guarantee that the various values are optimal and to detect negative reactions in real time.

The following are some of the consequences and downsides of the unintentional and excessive usage of chemical fertilizers:

► Soil degradation - Excessive use of fertilizers can significantly raise acidity levels, create macronutrient saturation, or change it to the point where the soil loses sensitivity and absorbency to various nutrients.

► Groundwater contamination - Applying excessive doses of fertilizer may leak into the area below the root zone and reach the groundwater.

► Salt burns - These burns indicate excessive use of chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers with a high saline index and chemicals like sodium nitrate are the ones that get the most attention or follow-up to avoid salt burns.

► Excessive growth - Because of the excessive and uncontrolled application of chemical fertilizers, the proportions and growth of the plants may exceed typical criteria. When this point is reached, the harvest and survival of the plants are jeopardized, rather than improving productivity.

Chemical fertilizers are valuable allies in intensive agriculture, but they can also have an impact on production cycles, soils, and surfaces if they are not managed and applied effectively.

Combining them with organic fertilizers, regularly observing, and, in general, aiming for rationality are critical parts of increasing productivity in a safe and sustainable manner.

The best way to avoid these disadvantages is by high efficiency fertilizers applied according to the 4R nutrient stewardship (Right fertilizer source, Right rate, Right time, Right placement). Haifa fertigation and controlled release fertilizers are excellent for application according to the principles of 4R , to minimize damage to the environment, while taking into account the economic needs of the farmers.

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