international fertilizer correspondent
IPI Bulletin No. 16 on Oilseed rape by K. Orlovius
Oilseed rape is an important commodity on the international oilseed market. With a global production of around 32 Mt, rapeseed ranks second behind soybean with about 180 Mt (2002, FAO). Major producers of rapeseed are China (10 Mt), the European Union (9 Mt), India (4 Mt) and Canada (3 Mt). The yield level varies considerably from less than 1 t/ha in India to 4 t/ha in Denmark and the Netherlands. The world average is 1.4 t/ha, which is also the level achieved in China and Canada.
Oilseed rape is a multifunctional crop but its major purpose is for bio oil. Amongst the main oil crops, rape oil ranks third behind soybean and palmoil with an annual production of 11.3 Mt (2002/03).
Rape oil can be used as a cooking oil, for frying or in salad dressing. Its high content of unsaturated fatty acids, mainly oil acid, is of high dietary value. Only olive oil and oil from new varieties of sunflower contain more oil acid.
Rape oil can also be used for industrial purposes as biodiesel and/or lubrication and hydraulic oil. From a seed harvest of 5,000 kg/ha or 3,000 l rape oil, after converting the oil into biodiesel, a car could run some 33,000 km. Engines driven with biodiesel from rape oil have lower emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particles. With a theoretically closed CO2cycle, biodiesel from oilseed rape qualifies as an environmentally friendly source of energy. However, production costs are seven times higher than for diesel from mineral oil at present prices. Nevertheless, biodiesel consumption in Germany has risen from zero to almost 400,000 t/year within the last 10 years.
Rape oil is also the raw material for the production of various chemicals including soaps, paints and varnishes. Rape meal, the residue left after the oil has been extracted, is an important source of protein for milk production and animal fattening. And it should not be forgotten that about 100 kg of honey can be produced from one hectare of oilseed rape. Oilseed rape is also an important crop in the rotation because of its positive impact on soil structure through intensive shading, a dense and deep root system and plenty of easily mineralizable residues.
The nutrient requirement and uptake of oilseed rape is substantial and may reach in a good crop more than 250 kg/ha N, more than 100 kg/ha P2O5 and almost 500 kg/ha K2O. This demands a good fertility status of the soil, especially of K because daily uptake rates of K may be as high as 12 kg/ha. On the other hand, most of the K remains in the residue and will be recycled to the benefit of the next crop.
The IPI Bulletin No. 16 (130 pp.) includes: the botany of rapeseed; the use of oilseed rape; the role of plant nutrients in yield physiology, and the nutrient requirement. The major part of the Bulletin is devoted to the effect of fertilizer use on yield and quality. It closes by discussing oilseed rape in the crop rotation in relation to plant nutrition and plant protection. 68 figures, 31 tables and 7 coloured plates complement the text. With more than 200 references, the IPI Bulletin on Oilseed rape is a very comprehensive and highly informative brochure for extension workers, students and scientists.
IPI Research Topics No. 22 Potassium and chloride in crops and soils: The role of potassium chloride fertilizer in crop production by U. Kafkafi, G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen and J. Tarchitzky
Potassium chloride, KCl (mostly known in agriculture as muriate of potash, MOP) is the major potash fertilizer. Those who use MOP are well aware of the beneficial effects that potassium, in concert with other essential nutrients, has on yield, quality and stress resistance of crops.
However, there is still widespread imbalance in potash use with negative potassium balances in many cropping systems in most regions of the world. The main reasons for its inadequate use are less spectacular visual crop responses to potassium compared to nitrogen, disregard for quality in crop procurement or, simply, lack of knowledge.
Inadequate potassium use not only restricts the full exploitation of a crop's genetic potential but also the efficiency with which other inputs, especially nitrogen, are used. In addition, negative potassium balances mean that soil potassium reserves are being mined endangering long-term soil fertility. The accompanying element in MOP, the chloride ion, is an essential plant nutrient required in small amounts, but concern is sometimes raised about its role in soil salinity.
IPI-Research-Topics No. 22 describes in detail the functions of potassium and chloride in the plant and hence their importance in crop production. The booklet also discusses the behaviour of potassium and chloride in soils, how best to manage the use of MOP in both dry land and irrigated cropping systems, and how to minimize salinity effects due to chloride.
The Research Topics No. 22 (220 pages, 36 tables, 28 figures and 12 coloured plates) can serve as a reference for soil and plant scientists, advisors and fertilizer planners.
IPI Research Topics No. 23 Fertigation, fertilization through irrigation by J. Hagin, M. Sneh and A. Lowengart-Aycicegi
Irrigation is important for increasing crop production to feed a still growing global population. However, increasing scarcity of water requires improvements in the efficient use of water in agriculture. In contrast to traditional surface irrigation, pressurised microirrigation systems fulfil this need. Consequently, the area under pressurised micro-irrigation is expanding rapidly.
This new technique not only revolutionises the application of water, it also requires a reassessment of how plant nutrients are managed. Simple broadcast application of fertilizers on the soil surface, as is done with flood irrigation, will not work because only a fraction of the soil is wetted with micro-irrigation. With fertigation, that is applying fertilizers with the irrigation water, nutrients are placed directly into the wetted soil zone where roots are active. This modern agro-technique provides an excellent opportunity to both maximise yield and increase water and fertilizer use efficiency, thus, conserving resources and minimising the risk of environmental pollution.
Unfortunately, although the technique is available, there is still widespread uncertainty on how best to apply the nutrients both in time and quantity to meet the requirements of the plant. IPIResearch Topics No. 23 details the basic prerequisites for the successful application of water and fertilizers. It discusses in detail the nutrient requirements of plants and relates these to the timing and amounts of fertilizer to apply. One chapter deals with the necessary monitoring and controlling of fertigation. Examples of how to calculate the water and nutrient requirement complete the booklet.
The IPI-Research Topics No. 23 (81 pages, 11 tables, 13 figures and 18 coloured plates) is an important reference for students, advisors in water and fertilizer management and for farmers.
Proceedings of the Regional Workshop on Potassium and water management in West Asia and North Africa, held at Amman, Jordan, 5-6 November 2001, edited by A.E. Johnston
An increasing global population has to obtain its food from shrinking land and water reserves. This forces the producer to improve the productivity of available land. Use of fertilizers is one way to increase crop yield.
The WANA Region, i.e. West Asia- North Africa faces the same problem as the rest of the world, namely increasing demand from fewer resources. In addition, agriculture in the WANA region is handicapped by the arid climate, shortage of water and the threat of salinity. On top of the negative list is that use of fertilizers is highly unbalanced in terms of the nutrient ratio and the input-output balance. N and P fertilizers are the commonly applied source of nutrients, K is applied in quantities of micro nutrients although it is being absorbed by the plant in quantities similar to N. Consequently, the K balance is highly negative and heavy soil K mining has to be assumed.
In order to alert scientists and decision-makers to the consequences of continuous soil K mining, namely loss in soil fertility, a regional workshop on Potassium and water management in West Asia and North Africa was organized in cooperation with the National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer, Amman. This forth workshop on this subject - after 1993 in Tehran, 1997 in Izmir, Turkey and 1999 again in Tehran - informed in six sessions on: (i) Introduction to potassium fertilization; (ii) Crop response to potassium in semiarid conditions; (iii) Potassium and water; (iv) Potassium and salinity; (v) Crop response to potassium; (vi) Country reports.
Proceedings of the International Symposium of IPI/PRII on the "Role of potassium in nutrient management for sustainable crop production in India", edited by N.S. Pasricha and S.K. Bansal
The process of globalization and free trade is bound to have a far reaching impact on Indian farming as well as on farmers. Pressure is already mounting for quality production at a very competitive price. India has to produce an additional 5-6 million tonnes of foodgrains annually in the next decade to meet the requirement of a still growing population. With more and more urbanization and improvement in quality of life, there will be a significant increase in demand for oilseeds, cotton, sugar, animal products, fruit, vegetables and other high value crops. The International Symposium of IPI/PRII on the "Role of potassium in nutrient management for sustainable crop production in India" addressed this issue which is relevant not only for India but for the whole region.
The Proceedings contain the presentations of 25 invited scientists from throughout the world, who have long standing in potassium research and are considered as masters of their subjects. The Proceedings contribute knowledge to researchers and extension agents on how best to meet the demand for higher productivity while at the same time protecting the environment and safeguarding natural resources.
Draslik v systemu optimalniho hnojeni ozime repky (Potash for optimal fertilization of oilseed rape) by R. Richter and L. Hrivna
Oilseed rape is an economically important crop in the Czech Republic. In Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic ranks second after Poland in acreage (326'000 ha) and production (almost 900'000 t) but first in yield of nearly 2.7 t/ha.
To assist growers and extension workers, Prof. R. Richter and Dr. L. Hrivna prepared the manuscript for this booklet which describes on 35 pages with 22 coloured graphs/photos and 10 tables in Czech language, the need for and the impact of balanced fertilization on oilseed rape production in the Czech Republic.
Rice, a practical guide to nutrient management, edited by T. Fairhurst and Ch. Witt
Food security in Asia depends largely on intensive rice production in the favourable environments of irrigated rice-based cropping systems. Further increases in productivity are needed because of predicted growth in population and decreased availability of water and land. Future yield increases will require improved crop care, integrated resource management approaches, and more knowledgeintensive strategies for the efficient use of all inputs, including fertilizer nutrients.
Site-specific nutrient management, SSNM, concepts have been developed in recent years as alternatives to the use of blanket fertilizer recommendations. These new approaches aim to achieve more efficient fertilizer use.
This 89 page pocket-sized booklet is a practical guide for managing nutrients in rice grown in tropical and subtropical regions. 23 coloured plates assist in detecting nutrient deficiency and toxicity symptoms.
The guide (ISBN: 981-04-5758-8) is available from:
Soil use and management, special issue on Soil fertility in organically managed soils
This special issue, published by CABI Publishing on behalf of the British Society of Soil Science, compares soil fertility in soils farmed organically and conventionally, and examines whether the current concept of soil fertility adequately encompasses both these systems. The papers presented are part of several DEFRA and SEERAD funded projects, involving scientists from a range of backgrounds. Organic farming, which takes an ecological approach to nutrient supply and crop protection, has been proposed as a solution to problems associated with inputs of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. However, it too sets environmental, human health, economic and production challenges that require coordinated research to be fully addressed.
Organic producers seek to manage the rotation as an integrated whole, and central to this integration is informed management of soil fertility. But careful soil management is not the sole preserve of organic farmers: so is there anything that is qualitatively different about soil fertility on organic farms?
The issue begins by describing the nature and practice of organic farming with the aid of a review, and this is followed by an exploration into how organic growers use a range of management practices to maintain and improve soil fertility. Subsequent papers examine the key components of soil fertility by combining a comprehensive review with information from new or recent research. A comparative study of nitrate leaching from farms managed conventionally or organically is the subject of a further contribution. The final paper examines important aspects of nutrient pools and nutrient transformations, drawing together the findings of the previous papers in reaching a definitive answer to the question of the adequacy of the current concept of soil fertility.
Professor Ken Killham
Understanding potassium and its use in agriculture by A.E. Johnston
This booklet is primarily intended as an introduction to the essential role of potassium in agriculture. It seeks to inform administrators, policy makers and interested lay people about the importance of potassium to plants, animals and in the human diet. It outlines the extent of the global reserves and resources of potassium, the behaviour of potassium in soil and how to optimise soil potassium supplies by the use of fertilizers and manures. The fact that using potash fertilizers has no known adverse environmental effect is emphasised. Tables and figures are used to support points made in the text which is also illustrated with many pictures.
Copies are available free of charge from the European Fertiliser Manufacturers
Association, Avenue E. van Nieuwenhuyse 4, B- 1160 Brussels, Belgium
Dictionary of Renewable Resources, edited by Hans Zoebelein
The second, revised and enlarged edition of this dictionary provides a wealth of information on renewable resources. Topics are all relevant plant and animal sources and the substances derived thereof, the standard technologies of isolation, and of the major fields of application - with regards to economic aspects and future developments.
In addition to the "classical" use as raw materials of the chemical industry, the fields of energy/fuels, cosmetics and aromas are covered. Not only are modern methods taken into account but also older, almost forgotten fields that could stimulate new consideration.
Well written and carefully structured, the dictionary is a very useful tool for a broad spectrum of users in different fields of profession, e.g. in public institutions, science and teaching or industry, in agriculture and ecology. Unique feature: Word indexes in English, German and French.