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Specialty Fertilizers: A Tectonic Shift in Input Industry Towards Sustainable Agriculture

   January 9, 2024

Specialty fertilizers are sources of nutrients that are applied in special conditions of soil and plants for special action in plants to achieve higher efficiency. These fertilizers are innovated with the help of different technologies to achieve optimum crop yield and quality. Specialty fertilizer significantly reduces possible nutrient losses and increases uptake by plants through gradual nutrient release. They improve nitrogen use efficiency, which is critical to address the challenges of global food security, environmental degradation, and climate change.

The specialty fertilizer is different from general fertilizer as the NPK rate is adjusted according to the crop requirement, and the application of these fertilizers varies accordingly. Different technologies are used for the manufacturing of these fertilizers, such as coating with different materials, nanotechnology, and liquefaction.

Growing Concerns Regarding Environmental Safety Supporting the Use of Specialty Fertilizers

The heavy use of synthetic agricultural inputs has increased environmental concerns. The extensive use of synthetic agricultural inputs directly affects the environment as residues of chemical fertilizers stay in the soil and cause soil pollution, contaminate surface and groundwater, and are released into the atmosphere through vitalization. These residues left in the soil emit ammonia, methane, nitrous oxide, and elemental nitrogen into the environment. Growing awareness about the adverse effects of agrochemicals on plant physiology, soil quality, animals, and human beings is driving the adoption of sustainable farming practices.

Commodity fertilizers and nutrients applied to the soil get leached into water, causing eutrophication on the surfaces of water bodies and impacting the aquatic ecosystem. These environmental concerns of water and soil pollution caused by the heavy application of commodity fertilizers have accelerated the development of specialty fertilizers. Some institutions and organizations are also raising awareness and encouraging farmers to use specialty fertilizers.

Specialty fertilizers are designed to provide targeted nutrients to specific crops, minimize the risk of over-fertilization, and reduce the potential for soil pollution. These fertilizers are formulated with a precise balance of essential nutrients, micronutrients, and other additives that are tailored to the specific needs of different crops and soil types. By using specialty fertilizers, farmers can optimize nutrient uptake, improve crop yields, and promote sustainable agricultural practices.

As a result, the global demand for specialty fertilizers is expected to continue to rise as more farmers recognize the importance of environmental safety and sustainable farming methods.

Sustainable Agriculture Through Specialty Fertilizers with Help of Precision Farming Technologies

Precision farming utilizes advanced technologies, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), sensors, drones, and data analytics tools to optimize agricultural practices and enhance crop productivity. Precision farming technologies, such as GPS-guided machinery and Variable Rate Technology (VRT), enable farmers to apply specialty fertilizers with high precision.

Plant nutrient deficiency is one of the most challenging problems among farmers around the world, and existing methodologies used to detect plant nutrient deficiency are lengthy processes of examining plant samples under laboratory conditions and using manual calculations. The implementation of precision farming enables the identification of nutrient deficiencies in a short while. Technology-based machine learning principles diagnose the precise shortfall in nutrient uptake based on a simple photograph. Moreover, precision farming technologies also make customized nutrient management easier for farmers. These technologies enable farmers to collect data about their fields’ specific needs. This data can be used to create customized nutrient management plans, allowing farmers to apply specialty fertilizers precisely. Moreover, tailored fertilization helps avoid over-fertilization, reduces environmental impacts, and optimizes the utilization of resources.

Specialty fertilizers play an important role in precision farming as they are capable of providing the right dosage of nutrients to crops at the right time. Also, specialty fertilizers supply necessary amounts of nutrients to crops and prevent soil toxification due to over-fertilization. Data on crop nutrient deficiencies can be used to control the delivery of nutrients to crops, maximizing fertilizer use efficiency and agricultural productivity.

Thus, the rising adoption of precision farming technologies is expected to boost the utilization of specialty fertilizers, generating market growth opportunities during the forecast period.

Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on the Specialty Fertilizers Market, states that the Specialty Fertilizers Market is expected to reach $46.83 billion by 2031 at a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period of 2024 to 2031. In terms of volume, this market is projected to reach 38,680.6 KT by 2031, at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period of 2024–2031.

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