British agriculture is embracing the concepts of sustainability and preparing to enter a new regime where public funds are only available in return for ‘public goods’. A natural fertiliser mined in Britain is set to play a major part both in the drive to achieve net zero farming within a decade and a significant improvement in the environmental benefits.
Polyhalite is mineral rich in plant nutrients – Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium and Magnesium – that is extracted from deep underground at ICL’s Boulby Mine on the North Yorkshire coast – and is the first and only producer in the world. The mineral, marketed as Polysulphate is also used as a constituent of the ICL-FertilizerpluS range of products and in blends, is already produced with the lowest low carbon footprint of any fertiliser and ICL is determined to achieve net zero in the future as it improves further the efficiency of its operations.
As part of its commitment to play an active part in UK farming’s drive to net zero, ICL has aligned its goals with the NFU’s three pillar initiative, which will support farmers through the transition.
Providing a non-nitrogenous sulphur alternative, Polysulphate gives farmers many different options on how best to apply sulphur. It also helps farmers achieve a number of other environmental benefits through its use.
Polysulphate-based fertilisers release nutrients more slowly than other sources of K and S. This slower release matches crop needs more closely so the nutrient is present when the plant needs it, thus reducing the risk of losses through run-off and leaching.
A pH neutral crop nutrient, Polysulphate-based products will not acidify soils. Thus, the need to apply lime is reduced, if not removed.
As a naturally-mined mineral, Polysulphate has been approved for use in organic farming settings. Another pointer to the products being considered ‘environmentally friendly’.
An ideal plan to optimise the environmental benefits of Polysulphate in winter sown crops begins with an autumn application, either by combine drilling or applying separately around drilling time. The following spring, the usual amount of sulphur is applied to boost yield and quality.
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