As a result of current supply chain uncertainty, agricultural input costs such as fertilizer and fuel have increased significantly prompting growers to consider alternative strategies to mitigate costs and reduce risks. The US is heavily reliant on imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia, importing over one $1 billion in phosphate fertilizer in 2019. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has recently determined that these imports are subsidized by the governments of those countries, which has adversely affected the US industry (USITC, 2021). It is evident that the US should reduce its reliance on fertilizer imports and shift to more sustainable, locally sourced phosphate fertilizer. Fertoz rock phosphate fertilizer is sold at about 80% the cost of ammonium phosphate fertilizer making it a less expensive, effective option for American growers. Fertoz rock phosphate fertilizer is naturally occurring, 100% sourced in North America, and is considerably more environmentally friendly as rock phosphate fertilizer produces a fraction of the CO2 produced by synthetic phosphate fertilizers.
According to the USDA, the total land in farms in the US was estimated to be 363 million hectares in 2019. The most recent USDA fertilizer use table shows monoammonium phosphate (MAP) production in 2015 was ~2.5 million tonnes (USDA, 2019). Other sources state that since 2019, MAP production in the US was 5 million tonnes (knoema.com). Kool et al., 2012 estimated an emissions factor for MAP manufacturing of 3.55 kg CO2-eq /kg N. Using the 2015 USDA MAP production, 2.5 million tonnes of MAP manufactured produced 976,250 tonnes CO2-eq.
Rock phosphate produces a simple solution to reducing CO2 emissions, while providing a host of other benefits to production and the environment. By displacing only 20% of the 2015 MAP produced with rock phosphate fertilizer (emissions factor of 0.19 kg CO2-eq /kg P2O5; Kool et al., 2012), CO2 emissions could have been reduced by 176,250,000 kg CO2-eq. Using corn as an example, in 2019 about 37.1 million hectares were seeded to corn in the US (USDA, 2021). About 79% of corn hectares received P fertilizer at an average rate of ~69 kg P fertilizer /ha. Substituting 20% of the average P fertilizer applied with rock phosphate fertilizer could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by about 4.9 kg CO2-eq/ha over about 29.3 million hectares (USDA, 2019).
Commercial, synthetic chemically concentrated fertilizers such as ammonia, urea and ammonium phosphates have been widely adopted over the past 50 years to increase yields and help feed the world. Unfortunately, these fertilizers have been shown to:
- Degrade the soil over time, increasing salinity and acidity, lowering important microbial populations.
- Potentially impact the environment through runoff and leaching
- Contribute large volumes ofCO2 emissions and green house gases
Our rock phosphate resources are of high quality. As we started to mine, crush, distribute and sell this new organic fertilizer, logistics or supply chain for these products were minimal. Regulations require that commercial fertilizer and organic fertilizer must be handled, stored, and applied separately. Fertoz became a leader in dealer and grower education, agronomic testing, farm, and field trials and with plenty of awareness we are now growing sales.
Knoema. Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) – production. www.knoema.com. (Accessed March, 2021) URL: https://knoema.com/atlas/topics/Agriculture/Fertilizers-Production-Quantity-in-Nutrients/Monoammonium-phosphate-production
Kool, A., Marinussen, H., and Blonk, H. 2012. LCI data for the calculation tool Feedprint for greenhouse gas emissions of feed production and utilization Cultivation of forage and roughage. Blonk Consultants.
Quinn, R. 2021. USITC Orders Duties on P Imports. www.Dtnpf.com (accessed March 2021). URL: https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/crops/article/2021/03/11/us-imports-phosphate-fertilizer-will#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20imported%20just%20under%20%241.03%20billion%20in,metric%20tons%2C%20down%20about%2016%25%20from%202018%20shipments.
USDA Economic Research Service. 2019. Fertilizer Use and Price. U.S. Department of Agriculture. www.usda.gov. (Accessed March, 2021). URL: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/fertilizer-use-and-price.aspx