Fast-growing Organic Fertilizer Market Shows a Promising Prospect
Year:2019 ISSUE:18&19
Click:130    DateTime:Sep.24,2019

By Xu Jizhang, China National Chemical Information Center

More industrial and agricultural wastes are to be used to produce organic fertilizers

Raw materials of organic fertilizers are various, and mainly include agricultural wastes like straw, industrial wastes (e.g. soybean meal and mushroom residue), livestock and poultry excrement, urban garbage, etc.

   1. Agricultural wastes

   Being materials to produce organic fertilizers, straw of main crops (e.g. wheat straw, rice straw, corn stalk, beanstalk and rape straw) contains cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and protein. In addition, it has various elements that are needed by crops and can improve soil fertility.

   2. Industrial wastes

   Cake fertilizers mainly include soybean cake, rape seed cake, peanut cake, tea seed cake and hodginsii seed cake. Organic matter in good cake fertilizers could reach as high as 85%, and other nutrient elements mainly are nitrogen (1%-7%), P2O5 (0.4%-3%), K2O (0.9%-2.1%), protein and amino acid. Mushroom residue is rich in organic matter (60%-70%) and trace elements. Furfural residue used as fertilizers has organic matter and nutrients. Using these industrial wastes is helpful to improve crop yield, as they could increase organic content and CEC (cation exchange capacity) of soil.

   3. Livestock and poultry excrement

   Nutrient contents vary in different kinds of livestock and poultry excrement. Poultry excrement (mainly from chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons) has rich nutrients and 25%-30% of organic matter. At present, commercial organic fertilizers are mainly produced by chicken manure. 

   4. Urban garbage

   Household garbage is disposed through sanitary landfill or incineration, or used as compost with relatively good yield-increasing effect.

   Increasingly more industrial and agricultural wastes are to be used. However, the use of livestock and poultry excrement is to decrease, due to complex treatment process and pollution (arising from heavy metals and antibiotics). Products (e.g. multi-element organic fertilizers) made by organic materials with different physical and chemical functions could cover the shortages (nutrient imbalance or single function) of products made by single kind of materials. New organic fertilizers are to contain various probiotics, inorganic constituent, medium and trace elements, etc.

Capacity and output both grew rapidly, but capacity distribution is scattered

   Domestic demand for organic fertilizers has increased in recent years. Capacity was up 8.6% annually during 2015-2017, and grew from 53.42 million t/a in 2015 to 63.02 million t/a in 2017 (output, up 7.2% annually, up from 29.23 million tons to 33.6 million tons). Average operating rate was 53.3% in 2017. In detail, commercial organic fertilizer capacity was 34.82 million t/a in 2017, output was 16.3 million tons and operating rate was 46.8%. Bio-organic fertilizer capacity was nine million t/a, output was five million tons and operating rate was 56%. Capacity of organic-inorganic compound fertilizers (mainly produced by Meihua Group and Genliduo) was seven million t/a, output was 4.22 million tons, and operating rate was 60.3%. Compound microbial fertilizer capacity was 6.24 million t/a, output was 4.5 million tons and operating rate was 72.1%. Main producers included Biofertilizer China AMMS Century, Shandong ZTSER Biological Technology Co., Ltd., Shandong Tuxiucai Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Xi'an Delong Bio-industry Group and Kingenta. Microbial agent capacity was 5.76 million t/a, output was 3.5 million tons and operating rate was 60.8%. Main products included azotobacterin, silicate bacteria inoculant, soluble phosphorus bacteria agent, photosynthetic bacteria agent, organic matter-decomposing inoculant and multiple species inoculant.

   Capacity of organic fertilizers is distributed dispersedly mainly due to scattered sources of raw materials. Most production enterprises are currently located in places near to raw materials. Producers in east China mainly rely on agricultural and industrial wastes from Shandong and Jiangsu. Most producers in south China locate in Guangdong and Guangxi, and utilize local resources (e.g. livestock and poultry excrement, industrial wastes, etc.).

   The number of organic fertilizer enterprises with scale of production lower than 5 kt/a accounted for 45.7% of the total in 2017 (5-20 kt/a, 35.7%; 20-100 kt/a, 15.6%). Firms with production scale exceeding 100 kt/a accounted for just 3%. Firms are to be eliminated if they fail to change in aspects of high production costs, backward technologies and heavy pollution. Hence, scale development is inevitable. Further, reorganization and M&As are also to appear in succession.

Demand for organic fertilizers is to increase continually, and products are to become more efficient

   Consumption demand for agricultural products is to be diversified. High-grade and quality certified products are preferred as they are more nutritious, healthier and safer. This greatly propels demand for organic fertilizers, consumption of which is forecast to be up 4.4% annually and reach 40.74 million tons in 2022. More specifically, consumption of commercial organic fertilizers is forecast to reach 18.82 million tons and grow 3.2% annually, that of bio-organic fertilizers to reach 6.41 million tons (up 5.3% annually), that of organic-inorganic compound fertilizers to reach 5.08 million tons (up 4.9% annually), that of compound microbial fertilizers to reach six million tons (up 6.2% annually), and that of microbial agents to reach 4.32 million tons (up 6.2% annually).

   Demand for fertilizers that are safe and good for the growth of vegetables and fruits is to gradually increase, propelling consumption of organic fertilizers and organic-inorganic compound fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are to become:

   * more efficient

   The purpose to develop new organic fertilizers is not only for increasing crop output but also for improving quality of agricultural products.

   * better in slow-release effect

   Slow-release fertilizers could improve utilization rates but decrease usage amount of fertilizers via slowing down dissolution and release of fertilizers.

   * more nutritious

   Trace and functional elements are to be added, in addition to macronutrients and medium nutrient elements.

   * more functional

   Organic fertilizers are to have more functions (e.g. resisting pests and diseases, sterilization, weed control, regulating plant growth, etc.) besides providing necessary nutrition.

   * more environmentally friendly

   Organic fertilizers are to increase organic matter content of soil, and help farmers solve many problems such as uneven distribution of soil nutrients, pollution, imbalance of beneficial microorganisms and deficiency of trace elements.