Fertilizers are needed for the cultivation of crops for human consumption, for animal feed and for industrial purposes. Fertilization is primarily used to achieve an optimum yield and in second place to achieve a desired nutrient content in the crop for human and animal consumption. Of interest are the principal nutrients: N, P, K and S as well as Mg, Na, Ca and trace elements : B, Mn, Cu, Zn, Fe, Mo.

NMI is working on methods for soil analysis and the development of new fertilizer recommendations (national and international) for animal feed and arable crops. The following points are of importance:
• to deal carefully with scarce resources;
• to minimize nutrient losses into the environment;
• to avoid excessive nutrient levels in crops; and
• to maintain soil fertility

Our approach involves the right fertilizer in the right quantity, in the right place and at the right time. Soil and crop sensors can prove to be helpful in calculating these factors.

The development of new fertilizer recommendations is based on new knowledge about the complex system in the soil. This new advice is increasingly based on the intensity and quantity concept (immediate availability, buffering and subsequent availability and amount of nutrients). In recent years new fertilizer recommendations for P, K, S and Na have been made. This work was based on the intensity and quality concept and combined with targeted monitoring and trials. Currently, the focus is on nitrogen and trace elements.

At a national level, but especially on a global scale there is an enormous challenge to maintain agricultural production at the current level. We want to do our part and would very much like to share our ideas with you on how this can be achieved.

Contact: Wim Bussink
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