Rock to Fork: How Polysulphate Use Improves the Quality of the Food We Eat

Polysulphate fertilizer begins life as Polyhalite rock, deep beneath the North Sea
May 29, 2022
Rock to Fork: How Polysulphate Use Improves the Quality of the Food We Eat

Polysulphate fertilizer begins life as Polyhalite rock, deep beneath the North Sea. We go from rock to fork, from the most natural fertilizer in the world to healthy, nutritious, environmentally friendly food.

The evolution of natural fertilizers
Humans may have been using fertilizers to improve crop yields and crop quality for at least 8,000 years. The earliest innovations were probably the result of noticing that plants exposed to animal manure grew better. Ancient cultures continued to use manure, as well as wood ash, and minerals. Guano and ground bone meal were popular with more modern agronomists, who also experimented with advanced crop rotation systems.

The industrial revolution, with its growing populations and urgent need for improved farming technology, stimulated a systematic scientific exploration of chemical fertilizers. Scientists and agronomists analyzed the performance of various chemicals as plant nutrients. By the 20th century, the global fertilizer market was dominated by mass-produced nitrogen-based fertilizers. These affordable nutrients contributed to the massive postwar agricultural production boom known as the Green Revolution or the Third Agricultural Revolution.
The 21st century is already seeing a fundamental shift towards more sustainable agriculture. There is an emphasis on localized farming solutions that are environmentally friendly, scalable, economically efficient, and deliver a low carbon footprint. A key component of sustainable agriculture is natural fertilizers.

 


 

What is Polysulphate
Polysulphate fertilizer is mined in the UK. It is found over 1km beneath the North Sea. The original Polyhalite rock bed was deposited over 260 million years ago. Polysulphate contains four plant nutrients in one single crystal that make it an excellent natural fertilizer. It has four nutrients: sulphur, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Its composition is sulphur (48% SO3), potassium (14% K2O), magnesium (6% MgO) and calcium (17% CaO) - all in sulphate (SO4) form. These nutrients are steadily released into the soil and available for plant uptake.
The extraction of Polysulphate is cost-effective and there are minimal production requirements prior to sale. Crucially, Polysulphate does not require any refinement or the addition of other chemicals. Mined Polysulphate is simply crushed and screened, and then loaded and shipped worldwide. There are no chemical processes, and it is ready to use straight from the mine on farmers’ fields.
Polysulphate fertilizer is a ‘clean’ product that can be mass-produced with minimal environmental impact and has the lowest carbon footprint of any other commercially available fertilizer: 0.034 kg CO2e per kg of product).

 

Why is Polysulphate fertilizer good for crops?
Besides containing a good balance of the four key nutrients that suit all crops and soil types, Polysulphate fertilizer granules release nutrients into the soil at a gradual rate, thus growing plants receive steady and prolonged nutrition through all the crop growth cycle. Its prolonged release of nutrients makes it less prone to leaching losses thus preserving the environment.
Polysulphate is also low in chloride and is free of any other substances that may be detrimental to crops, soil, or the local environment. It has very low salinity index and neutral pH and does not affect soil pH.
The granules are simply spread as required in the fields, usually before sowing, and dissolve naturally into the soil. There is no loss from runoff or leaching. Polysulphate can also be applied as a blend with other fertilizers or can be used as a raw material for manufacturing compound fertilizers.
Polysulphate has shown to improve crop yields in more than 800 agronomic trials conducted around the world in different crops such as coffee, tomatoes, grapevines, pastures, cereals, oil crops, and many other field crops, orchards, and plantations.

An example on the evidence of the benefits of Polysulphate can be found in a melon trial in East Java, Indonesia.
- Melons treated with Polysulphate showed more uniform growth than the control.
- There were no cracked fruits amongst the Polysulphate treated melons.
- Disease incidence decreased by an impressive 47% with Polysulphate fertilizer.
- Melon fruit were 8.7% heavier in the Polysulphate treated plot.
 
The Need for an Organic Sustainable Fertilizer
Consumer demand for organic, or at least healthy food products is growing. The Baby Boomer generation’s delight at the 20th-century miracle of cheap, mass-produced food (at least in the Developed World) has evolved into a requirement for better quality food. This consumer awareness is extending into the farming methods that produce the food we eat.
The key difference is that the 21st-century concept of sustainable agriculture is consciously built on an ethical foundation. An underlying goal is to create a balanced and harmonious global agricultural economy. This means avoiding soil depletion, reducing the carbon footprint at every stage of the production and supply chain, and minimizing waste.
This sustainable fertilizer is ideal for corporate industrial farming, individual farmers on small lands, smallholders, as well as nurseries, urban gardeners, and even ornamental gardeners.
The ability to bring to market food as having been produced with sustainable organic fertilizer is a strong selling point. The bottom line is that sophisticated modern consumers expect to see sustainable solutions as an integral part of the production and supply chain. In an increasingly ethical food market, the potential financial benefits of using organic sustainable fertilizers extend across the entire sales spectrum, from field to grocery store.

 

Polysulphate is a 4 in 1 natural fertilizer that is mined directly from the earth. Used correctly, it enriches the soil, producing stronger and healthier crops. End consumers can enjoy their food, knowing that they made a more ethical and environmentally friendly purchase and are eating potentially healthier meals.
Polysulphate fertilizer is approved for use in organic agriculture and has organic certificates in UK, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, Brazil and Israel. In addition, Polysulphate standard and granular grades are OMRI-listed for organic use in the USA and Canada.
Polysulphate has been included on the international list of inputs allowed for organic farming according to EC 834/2007, NOP (National Organic Program, USA), and JAS (Japanese Agriculture Standard) regulations. Also Polysulphate is in accordance with Control Union Certifications Standards on Organic Inputs (based on EEC 834/2007, EEC 889/2008 and NOP standards).

The role of Polysulphate in reducing carbon footprint
Polysulphate is not just ideal for improving crop yields, and the quality and health of individual crops, it is also a clean product.
• It is completely natural
• It has a low carbon footprint
• It is screened and crushed close to the source
• Polysulphate is not refined or processed
• It provides four essential nutrients to the crops in just one application.

Polysulphate fertilizer is not only an excellent option for organic farmers but also for conventional farmers who are looking for a low-cost, environmentally positive source of four key nutrients for their crops. Along with prolonged multi-nutrient availability and ease of application to a wide range of crops, low carbon footprint is now another benefit of Polysulphate that is attractive to organic and conventional producers alike.
Polysulphate is becoming key to quality, sustainable farming around the world.

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