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Fertilizers replace the nutrients that crops remove from the soil. Without the addition of fertilizers, crop yields and agricultural productivity would be significantly reduced. That’s why mineral fertilizers are used to supplement the soil’s nutrient stocks with minerals that can be quickly absorbed and used by crops.
Thus, in order to meet human nutritional needs in the crops and meat we eat, we need to replace what we take out. The key is to get this balance right and to maintain a level of nutrients in soils that will support our crops without applying excess.
Each crop draws down from these reserves and we need to replace them with fertilizers, every year and after every crop.
Put simply – we use fertilizer to: