• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The use of fertilisers in farming

Extracts from this document...


The use of fertilisers in farming Fertilisers are the largest item of discretionary expenditure in most arable farm budgets and have been used for centuries to maintain or improve soil fertility. How well the fertiliser pound is spent often has a large impact on farm profitability, which in a modern world is a very important factor. All plants require nutrients to survive, as do animals, so it is only natural that plants gather these nutrients from the ground via the roots, by active transport for movement of mineral ions (e.g. nitrate) against a concentration gradient or by osmosis for movement with the concentration gradient. In a natural environment, with no human intervention plants would usually be eaten by animals, most would die, decompose and return their nutrients to the ground. However, humans break the nutrient recycling chain by removing the entire crop and along with it all the nutrients that the plant had taken up from the soil, leaving it deprived of nutrients, so in order to re-use the same piece of land over and over again and still have an acceptable level of production the nutrients must be replaced. ...read more.


So if a farmer notices these characteristics he can act quickly and add nitrogen fertiliser to make sure the crop doesn't die. Phosphorus (P) is a critical component of nucleic acids, so it plays a vital role in plant reproduction, of which grain production is an important result. Considered essential to seed formation, this mineral is often found in large quantities in seed and fruit. Adequate phosphorus is characterized by improved crop quality, greater straw strength, increased root growth, and earlier crop maturity. Meaning the farmer should be able to gain an edge over competitors and get a higher price. Potassium (K) is not an integral part of any major plant component, but it does play a key role in a vast array of physiological processes vital for plant growth, from protein synthesis to maintenance of plant water balance. Reduced plant growth and reduced straw or stalk strength, reduced disease resistance, and reduced winter hardiness of perennial or winter annual crops are indicators of potassium deficiency. Potentially whole crops could be lost if one or more of the major nutrients are not available for the plant. ...read more.


This is a factor that causes run-off of fertiliser containing nitrates, phosphates and ammonia that if washed into lakes or other water bodies can cause eutrophication. In most freshwater lakes the limiting nutrient is phosphorus, so an input of phosphorus in the form of phosphate ions (PO43-) results in an increase in biological activity- the plants are able to grow and reproduce faster which can cause plant blooms, (e.g. an algae bloom). There are many regulations being introduced that farms are required to follow as an attempt by the environmental agency as to reduce the occurrence of eutrophication. (Source's 2 & 3) Summery Although fertilisers can prove an invaluable tool for farmers they can also be a hindrance to the environment and ultimately farmers have to pay the price for clean up operations or fines if they are found to have broken regulations on how much fertiliser they are allowed to put onto their crops. Fertilisers are also very expensive and can also be expensive to spread on the crops, for example the cost of equipment needed may be extremely expensive, especially if an air dropping method is used, as the fertiliser is blown down wind and much falls away from the crops, resulting in wasted fertiliser which means wasted money. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Green Plants as Organisms section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Green Plants as Organisms essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Advantages and disadvantages of fertiliser.

    Either animals have left their waste ("manure") which rots, or plant materials have died (cut grass, fallen leaves, etc). As these plant materials, or the manures, decompose fertilizer molecules are released. For example, manure, orange peel, corn trash, dead flowers all contain fertilizer molecules which can become available to other plants (recycled)

  2. The use of fertilisers in farming.

    The nitrogen cycle represents one of the most important nutrient cycles found in terrestrial ecosystems. Nitrogen is used by living organisms to produce a number of complex organic molecules like amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids. The largest store of nitrogen is found in the atmosphere where it exists as a gas (mainly N2).

  1. Investigating the effects of fertilisers.

    PREDICTION: I wondered upon what the general effect of the fertilisers would be on the plant growth and came upon the decision that it would improve the plant growth because from watching the advertisements and realising that a lot of people do use fertilisers that they must be effective.

  2. Investigating the growth of Lemna (Duckweed)

    Hemoproteins are proteins linked to a non- protein, iron-bearing component. It is the iron (heme) group attached to the protein that can undergo reversible oxidation and reduction reactions, thereby functioning as electron carriers within the mitochondria (the organelles that produce energy for the cell through cellular respiration).

  1. Water and Marine Resources

    However such changes are expensive and governments will need to provide subsidies and enforce policies on water conservation in order for this to happen. Water use by industry Water used by industry is often second in amount to that consumed by agriculture.

  2. Teas Farming in India

    From nearby the two peaks of Everest and Kanchenjunga are visible. Darjiling has a botanic garden and a number of sanatoriums. The principal industries of the area are the cultivation of tea, rice, and cinchona trees. Darjiling was formerly the capital of Bengal Province, British India.

  1. The effects of organic effluent from the seweage on the biodiversty in a freshwater ...

    for the test. In the t-test, the degrees of freedom is the sum of the persons in both groups minus 2. Given the alpha level, the df, and the t-value, you can look the t-value up in a standard table of significance (available as an appendix in the back of most statistics texts)

  2. Experiment Report on Best Fertilisers

    Due to its high domestic demand many plants are also able to have NPK Fertilizer used on them. Blood and Bone- Blood & Bone Based Fertilizer contains 65% blood and Bone meal with added animal manure (Nitogen-5.4: Phosphorus4.0: Potassium-0.4). Blood and Bone contains the most organic matter of all the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work