Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) release nutrients in a controlled manner to match the nutrient requirement of a crop. These fertilizers improve efficiency, increase crop yield, and reduce potential losses to the environment. They offer several advantages such as saving fertilizer quantity and labor since a single application is required for the growing season and improve soil quality and germination rates. Additionally, they inhibit nutrient loss, seed toxicity & hazardous emissions.
Controlled release fertilizers are categorized into controlled release organic fertilizer (CROF), controlled release inorganic fertilizers (CRIF), water-soluble fertilizer coated by the physical barrier, which controls its release is also known as controlled release coated fertilizers (CRCF), controlled release coated urea fertilizer (CRCU), and others. CROF and CRIF use low solubility fertilizers, thus they are released at a controlled rate into the soil. CRCF is the most widely used fertilizer segment and is expected to drive the global controlled release fertilizers market majorly. Moreover, controlled release coated urea fertilizers (CRCU) are gaining huge popularity due to the extensive use urea as fertilizer on account of its high nitrogen content (46%), low cost, and ease of application. CRCU fertilizers are made by using combination chemistries, that is, by coating urea with either sulfur-based coating material, polymer-based coating material, the superabsorbent coating material (hydrogel), or bio-composite coating material among other.
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Rapidly expanding global population is expected to be the key driver of the controlled release fertilizers market during the forecast period. Additionally, increasing efforts towards sustainable agriculture is expected to drive the controlled release fertilizer market over the forecast period.
However, the controlled release fertilizers pose certain limitations such as high cost, some of the coating materials used to produce CRFs are non-biodegradable and pose toxicity concerns to the soil, some CRFs also drastically change the soil’s pH to undesirable limit, current storage facilities is underdeveloped and thus results in premature nutrient release during storage, high vulnerability to changes in temperature, ambient moisture, bioactivity of the soil, and wetting and drying cycles of the soil. Additionally, the application of CRFs is limited by a lack of data regarding the release kinetics of CRF in various types of soil. Furthermore, CRFs do not respond directly to the plant’s demand for nutrients and release nutrients at the same rate regardless of whether a plant is demanding more or no nutrients at all. These limitations are likely to hamper the controlled release fertilizers market. Moreover, technological innovations in the agriculture industry is expected to find quick solutions to the CRFs limitations and enhance its marketing issues over the forecast period.
The global controlled-release fertilizers market is segmented by type, mechanism, crop type, and region.
On the basis of the type, the global controlled release fertilizers market is segmented into controlled release organic fertilizers (CROF), controlled release inorganic fertilizers (CRIF), controlled release coated fertilizers (CRCF), controlled release coated urea (CRCU), and others. CROF are sub-segmented into natural organic compounds (animal manure, sewage sludge etc.) and synthetic organic compounds (urea formaldehyde (UF), isobutylene-diurea (IBDU), urea acetaldehyde/cyclo diurea (CDU)). CRIF are sub-segmented into metal ammonium phosphates (KNH4PO4 and MgNH4PO4), and partially acidulated phosphate rock (PAPR). CRCF is sub-segmented into coated granules and matrix coating. Coated granular CRFs are further segmented to organic polymer coating materials (for instance, thermoplastics, and resins) and inorganic coating materials (including sulfur and other minerals). The matrix coating is further segmented into hydrophobic matrix coating (e.g. polyoleﬁn, rubber etc.,) and hydrophilic matrix coating (hydrogels). CRCU are sub-segmented into CRCU with a sulfur-based coating material, CRCU with a polymer-based coating material, CRCU with a superabsorbent coating material (hydrogel), and CRCU with bio-composite coating material among other. CRCU segment dominate the market owing to advantages of urea-based fertilizer such as high nitrogen content (46%), low cost, and ease of application.
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On the basis of the mechanism of controlled release, the global controlled release fertilizers market is segmented into osmosis mechanism and diffusion mechanism. Diffusion mechanism of controlled release of fertilizers accounted to hold a singificant share of the market in 2017 due to its advantages over osmosis mechanism such more controlled release rate and high consumption of polymer-based controlled release fertilizers over sulfur-based fertilizers.
On the basis of the crop type, the global controlled release fertilizers market is segmented into ornamental & nurseries, agriculture, and turf & lawns. The agriculture application accounted for the largest market share under crop type in 2017 on account of growing need for food production due to expanding population across the globe and is likely to continue growing over the forecast period 2018-2023.
The global controlled-release fertilizers market is spanned across five regions: Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. North America was the major market for the controlled release fertilizers in 2017, followed by Europe, which is further trailed by Asia Pacific. The Middle East & Africa and Latin America are expected to show a moderate demand for controlled release fertilizers over the forecast period.
Some of the key players in the global controlled-release fertilizers market are BASF SE (Germany), Nutrien Ltd. (Canada), Yara International ASA (Norway), Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. (U.S.), ICL (Israel), AGLUKON Spezialdünger GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), COMPO EXPERT (Germany), Ekompany (Netherlands), Haifa Chemicals Ltd. (Israel), Kingenta (China), and The Scotts Company LLC (U.S.).
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