In the past, the sole focus in agriculture was on production, today, there are different goals to meet and more challenges to face. Studying the environmental impacts of crops, reducing the costs of production, and a balanced use of fertilizers are some of the main aspects to consider in modern agriculture. Although incredible accomplishments have been achieved in agricultural production worldwide, many demanding challenges to ensure food security and environmental sustainability remain. With a constantly growing population, open field crops, such as rice, are vital and can help provide answers to food security.
Cereals (wheat, barley, maize, etc.), oilseeds (sunflower, rapeseed, soybean, etc.), and protein crops (peas, faba beans, etc.) make up the majority of the open field crop sector. Today, increasing cropping intensity is widespread worldwide. In environments with favorable temperatures and water availability, this involves a shift to multiple crops per year.
Managing agricultural nutrients to provide a safe food supply and at the same time protecting the environment remains one of the immense challenges of the 21st century. Crop nutrient uptake and crop yields are the principal factors that determine optimal fertilization practices. Applied before, during or after sowing, fertilizers play a major role in securing a good yield.
1. Quality of a fertilizer: The mechanical qualities of a fertilizer (hardness, shape and homogeneity in granule size) are essential for regularity and homogeneity of spreading.
2. Composition: Over-fertilization decreases the efficiency of nutrient use and causes a series of economic and environmental problems. However, balanced mineral fertilizer applications play an important role in increasing open field crop yields. Special attention needs to be paid to the soluble part of each nutrient provided as this part will be easily reachable for the plant.
3. Low environmental impact: It is also very important to apply fertilizers in an efficient way to minimize loss and to improve the efficiency of the nutrient use. New fertilization technologies ensure more efficient fertilization for the plants and less environmental impact (nitrogen leaching for example). This is one of the main focuses of COMPO EXPERT in the open field crop segment.
The progress in crop production derives from advances in breeding and agronomy, including improvements in the spatial and temporal arrangement of crops in farming systems. Agricultural equipment has become more sophisticated with on-board electronics and new precision cultivation techniques have been developed that are managed via satellite. Last but not least, water availability is one of the major factors as open field crops are rainfed or irrigated.