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Efficient Fertilizer Application

Fertilizer application is not generating the returns it needs to, with challenges such as incomplete data driving a yield deficit of 15-20% and growing resource waste.

The greatest question facing the fertilizer industry is how to cater to a growing global population without adversely damaging the environment.

Context & Challenges

The world must grow significantly more food to cater to projections of 9.7 billion people to feed by 2050. While traditionally, this would require more fertilizer, the production of commercial fertilizer requires a significant number of natural resources, can emit harmful emissions, damage the natural environment, and result in colossal water waste. As such industry leaders are looking for ways to increase application efficiency in order to grow more with less fertilizer.

Fertilizer application is not half as efficient as it needs to be to meet society’s needs without harming the environment. Approximately half the food produced in the world today is supported by Nitrogen fertilizer. This is problematic as repeated studies reveal nitrogen efficiency use in crops, defined as the ratio of crop nitrogen uptake to the total input of fertilizer, to range from 30% to 50%, meaning only 30-50% of all applied fertilizer is actually used by crops. Efficient use is maximizing yield with the lowest amount of fertilizer, and often the greatest efficiency results from the first increment of application, with additional increments of fertilizer nutrients usually resulting in a lower efficiency.

As such, what’s missing right now is precise application of fertilizer. If farmers had the data and mechanisms to apply fertilizer at exactly the right rate for maximum efficiency, many of the challenges currently facing them could be resolved.

The 4R Framework as developed by Nutrient Stewardship, has been developed in order to direct more sustainable fertilizer application. It focuses on applying fertilizer at the right source, right rate, right time, and right place.

To execute this strategy successfully, a large amount of data is needed. The science driving it is precision agriculture and the farm management software (FMS) behind it. FMS is integral to the industry achieving sustainable growth as it presents a solution to falling yields by facilitating precision agriculture, allowing farmers to manage crops to enhance yields and better serve growing consumption as well as increase profits.

  • Farmers
    If farmers are not experience fertilizer efficiency, they are not seeing maximum returns from their resource use which inherently damages their business model.
  • The Environment
    Inefficient fertilizer use release harmful emissions such as nitrate into our environment, causing irreparable damage to our resources.
  • Smallholder Farmers
    Smallholder farmers, who are often working with limited fertilizer quantities, are particularly affected by inefficient application as they are not able to simply use more fertilizer, and therefore cannot produce enough food to feed their communities
  • Society
    For society, it’s imperative that the industry finds a way to meet consumers’ food needs without irreparably damaging the earth, both being fundamental needs for the world.

The Good News

STRATO has the ability to integrate precision agriculture systems with existing systems in order to enable the precise and efficient application of fertilizer and reduce waste.

  • Provide the data to determine exactly the right rate and method of application for maximum efficiency
    • Increase yields and decrease waste through intelligent, data-driven decisions
  • Track application to maintain oversight on all fertilizer use
  • Integrate new precision systems seamlessly with pre-existing systems
    • Facilitate real-time communication between systems through a single ledger

Goldman Sachs found that all of these benefits of precision agriculture cumulate to increase yield by over 70% by 2050, meeting growing demand for food and driving corresponding financial gain. While fertilizer application is only one, albeit significant component of precision agriculture, this is an impressive indication of its impact.

Solution Benefits

  • Seamlessly scale to integrate new precision systems with pre-existing systems
  • Create an immutable and holistic overview of all actions and transactions around a fertilizer product
  • Track the usage of fertilizer product alongside yield to collate data on the most effective application methods
  • Automate labor-intensive processes liked data collection

Any STRATO insurance solution leverages STRATO’s enterprise-grade features

  • RESTful APIs for direct connection of IoT devices to the blockchain network
  • Identity Management, OAuth and SSO capabilities for simplified IoT authorization and user login
  • Privacy via private chains to keep any competitive/operations data private
  • Enterprise Data Modeling for integration of existing and future fertilizer application models