Dr. Jiyun Jin, China's International Plant Nutrition Institute Program Director spoke in Cincinnati, Ohio today at IPNI's annual four day summit. The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America are hosting more than 4000 scientists, professionals, educators and students at the event. With China finally showing some movement on importing much needed potash, Dr. Jin gives key insights as to what is happening in soil management in this key world market. The following is an excerpt from IPNI's report:
"China has successfully managed to increase total grain production in the last 8 years since 2004. However, achieving balanced nutrient management remains a challenge in many regions for various reasons. In those regions with high yielding intensified cropping systems, over use of N is common and accumulation of P, and in some cases K, has occurred. These N and P nutrient accumulations have resulted in relatively low fertilizer use efficiency and in some cases had a negative environmental impact.
"Considering the fact that most crop production systems in China are highly intensified with high fertilizer input, and the fact that China has to further increase crop production to support a growing population and rapid economic growth, increasing fertilizer use efficiency actually becomes an important task to ensure food security, social stability and environment quality. This goal can only be reached with advances in soil science and fertilization technology," says Dr. Jin.
According to Dr. Jin, the key components of a successful strategy include: 1) Using all available organic nutrient resources wherever possible; 2) Realizing balanced fertilization to support increased crop yields; 3) Develop advanced technology to improve fertilizer use efficiency, such as slow release fertilizers, site specific nutrient management, fertigation technology, etc.; 4) Developing optimal 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices for fertilization (Right source, Right rate, Right time, Right place), and best management for irrigation, cultivation and other management practices necessary to address the move to larger farm size and mechanization."
With a little potash in the soil, China should be able to stabilize NPK ratios and maximize soil nutrition boosting crop yields in a nation struggling to keep up with its own growth. The ink is still wet on the deal China signed agreeing to purchase 500,000 tons/year for ten years from an Arizona production complex, but Dr. Jin's comments reveal that the soil in China needs potash now in order to saitsfy that nation's demand for domestic grain.