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There are twelve essential nutrients which plants must take up from the soil. The macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K). Plants need smaller amounts of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S). These are called secondary nutrients. Plants need micronutrients in very small amounts. The micronutrients are iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B), copper (Cu) and molybdenum (Mo). Nutrients are needed in different amounts; however, a deficiency of any nutrient will result in poor crop growth.

Fertilizers are materials used to provide plants with nutrients. Many fertilizers are extracted and purified from natural deposits in the earth. Materials such as muriate of potash, diammonium phosphate (DAP) and monoammonium phosphate (MAP) are all produced from naturally occurring minerals. Some materials, such as urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) are synthetic, but provide plants with the same nutrients that are found naturally in the soil.

The color of fertilizers vary depending on where they were extracted, the degree of purification and the presence of added dyes. For example, muriate of potash can be either red, white or colorless crystals. The color of a fertilizer does not indicate its usefulness, what really matters is its nutrient content and its availability. Many different materials are used as fertilizers. The actual nutrient level can vary depending on the source.

Oxbow owns and operates multiple fertilizer distribution facilities which provide vital storage and handling for producers and customers throughout the North American cropping areas. Oxbow maintains a worldwide network with strong relationships and a reputation for reliability and performance in the marketplace.

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Stephen Stallons
Sales Director Fertilizer, North America
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