Agrochemical (Encyclopedia of Science)
An agrochemical is any substance used to help manage an agricultural ecosystem, or the community of organisms in a farming area. Agrochemicals include: (1) fertilizers, (2) liming and acidifying agents, (3) soil conditioners, (4) pesticides, and (5) chemicals used in animal husbandry, such as antibiotics and hormones.
The use of agrochemicals has been critical to the raising crops for food. However, some of these chemicals cause substantial environmental and ecological damage, greatly reducing their benefits.
Fertilizers are substances that are added to farmlands to encourage plant growth and to increase crop yields. Fertilizers may be chemically manufactured (synthetic) or be made from organic (living) material such as recycled waste, animal manure, or compost (decaying vegetation). Most fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are inorganic (nonliving) nutrients that plants need to grow. Globally, about 152 million tons (138 million metric tons) of fertilizers are used each year. In the United States, the yearly total is about 21 million tons (19 million metric tons).
Liming and acidifying agents
Crops planted in soil that is either too acidic or too alkaline (basic) cannot obtain the proper nutrients they need to grow from that soil....
(The entire section is 992 words.)
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