The Nitrogen Balance: Understanding Nitrogen Use Around the Globe

Nitrogen fertilizer is a key component for successfully growing the crops that feed over half of the world’s population. While fertilizer may not necessarily seem like a luxury, third world countries that don’t have access to it are faced with problems such as limited food supply, social unrest, and economic issues.

An imbalance in nitrogen use between developed and developing nations has led to various negative environmental and social impacts. What the planet needs is a nitrogen balance.

Nitrogen is not only important for growing plants, but also for the creation of a thriving society. Yet, too much of anything can eventually become harmful.

Excessive fertilizer use can hurt the environment and negatively impact human health. Nitrogen runoff has polluted groundwater and is responsible for the formation of “dead zones,” some larger than the state of Connecticut, located along our coasts. To exacerbate this situation, ammonia from fertilizer is polluting the air in the form of a greenhouse gas.

Thus, the nitrogen problem is one that must be carefully balanced. Using too much or too little fertilizer can have equally destructive consequences.

Developing Nations Need Access to Fertilizer

In developing regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America, fertilizer cost and access is an obstacle that has been nearly impossible to overcome. In sub-Saharan Africa, 250 million people remain chronically malnourished because nitrogen nutrient inputs are not great enough to allow for the creation of adequately fertile soil.

A study conducted in west Kenya revealed that farmers only use six pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. This is only slightly more than one percent of the amount used by Chinese farmers.

The governments of these countries need to intervene to help farmers gain access to fertilizer and more sustainable farming methods. So far, fertilizer and seed subsidies have been able to improve the situation.

In Malawi, after a subsidy plan was enacted by the government, within four years, the country was able to not only have enough corn for their people, but also enough to export and sell.

While the environment of developing nations is not being harmed from over-fertilization, the human population is. The prevention of hunger should be a global priority, but we should not have to sacrifice the environment.

Developed Nations Using too Much Fertilizer

On the opposite side of the scale, developing nations are using way more fertilizer than what is actually necessary.

In commercial farms, fertilizer use is a primary influencer of productivity and, ultimately, how much money is made. But most of the time, too much fertilizer is applied to crops, resulting in chemical run-off. This can be detrimental for human health if chemicals leach into our water systems.

When too much nitrogen is applied, it is impossible for the plant to absorb and use all of it, and whatever is left over becomes pollution. This excess nitrogen allows for algae bloom formation in bodies of water, which can be toxic to aquatic life and even our pets.

Today in Suffolk County, New York, $4 billion must now be spent to clean up the adverse effects of nitrogen pollution. There, surface waters are contaminated by algae blooms and fish are being killed. This multi-billion-dollar plan will take fifty years to be completed; it entails sanitary code changes and the creation of a countywide wastewater management district.

This is only one example of the negative impacts of over-fertilization, but it is happening everywhere. We must take preventative measures by educating people and using fertilizer more precisely so that situations like these can be avoided.

More people need to be educated on sustainable farming and the nitrogen footprint we are creating. Different crops require different amounts of nitrogen, and if these amounts are known, the amount of fertilizer applied to crops can be tailored based on that particular plant.

For example, in China, 525 pounds of fertilizer are used per acre of land, which releases about 200 pounds of excess nitrogen per acre into the environment. A study performed revealed that when the fertilizer applied was reduced by half, the crop quality and yield was completely unaffected.

Because plants cannot absorb excess nitrogen, using more is not better, and it simply becomes waste, which impacts us and our environment.

xVirity for Nitrogen Balance

xVital isn’t like other fertilizers–its uniformity, lack of harsh chemicals, and ability to facilitate precise application makes it much better for the environment and easier for you!

xVital contains an exact amount of concentrated nitrogen in each bottle; therefore, all you have to do is use our Online Ratio Calculator to determine how much fertilizer is required for the plant or crop that you are trying to grow.

When xVital is used, the perfect amount of nitrogen will be applied to your plants–never too much or too little. Plant growth will be optimized while limiting harm towards the environment from nitrogen runoff.

Purchase xVital today to start maximizing plant nutrition while minimizing environmental damage!



Fertilizer Feast and Famine: Solving the Global Nitrogen Problem

Suffolk Officials Unveil $4 Billion Plan to Fight Nitrogen Pollution in Surface Waters

Study Highlights Massive Imbalances in Global Fertilizer Use