Trends in Fertilizer Use

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The material explores trends in fertilizer use within the United States, with a focus on engineering aspects and their implications for the fertilizer industry. The author examines changes in fertilizer production and distribution, specifically highlighting the shift from granulated fertilizer to bulk blends and fluids. Bulk blending, facilitated by imported urea and cost-effective handling equipment, has gained market share due to its convenience and versatility in providing customized fertilizer formulations at lower prices. However, challenges related to analysis accuracy and micronutrient integration persist in bulk blends. Additionally, the decline in the number of NPK granulation plants is noted, with a shift towards ammonium phosphate (MAP) as a phosphate source for fluid fertilizers, offering stability, lower N:P2O5 ratios, and improved blending properties. The potential use of ammonium polyphosphate (GAPP) as a granular alternative is also explored. Fluid fertilizers, particularly suspensions, are gaining competitiveness with dry blends due to cost advantages and the utilization of low-cost nitrogen sources such as urea and ammonia. The material discusses various techniques for producing liquid fertilizers, including the use of ammonia in closed systems and the production of slow-release formulations. Furthermore, the study addresses the emerging trend of utilizing industrial waste products containing plant nutrients as fertilizers, emphasizing the need for appropriate treatment and evaluation. The role of computer programs in fertilizer formulation and plant design is briefly mentioned, along with the growing concerns regarding pollution and runoff from fertilizer plants. Finally, advancements in application equipment are highlighted, including the development of "boomed dry spreaders" and specialized applicators for banding fertilizers in reduced tillage systems.
Fertilizer industry, Ammonium phosphate, Technological changes