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An agricultural chemical or agriculture chemical is also called agrochemical or agrichemical. Agricultural chemicals are chemicals used in agriculture. Agriculture chemicals are produced by agrochemical industries which are useful individuals and businesses engaged in agriculture either on a small scale or large scale which are often referred to as subsistence agriculture or commercial agriculture respectively. The chemicals used in agriculture by agriculturists and / or farmers at different stages of farming and agriculture are essential for a number of reasons. These agricultural chemicals used in agriculture come in different compositions, quantities and qualities. Besides, these agriculture chemicals used in agriculture are used at different point in times. Also, agrochemicals used in agriculture have different methods or techniques in their applications in order to obtain the best results. Moreover, agrichemicals used in agriculture varies in prices. It is important to note that agriculture chemicals are mostly used for plant production. However, some agrochemicals are as well used in animal husbandry. As a matter of fact, the use of agricultural chemicals are very important in the production of agriculture products that are derived from animals or plants. It is on record that agricultural chemicals increase the yield of plants and animal production. Agriculture mechanization (use of agriculture equipment and agriculture machinery) or farm mechanization (use of farm equipment and farm machinery) are complemented with the use of agrochemicals since some of these agrichemicals are sometimes applied with the help of agriculture equipment and machinery especially in commercial farming.
Importance of Agriculture Chemicals or Uses of Agriculture Chemicals or Advantages of Agriculture Chemicals
Agricultural chemicals are very important for agriculture for a number of reasons ranging from increasing the quantity and quality of agriculture products. Agrochemicals help increase soil aeration as well as increase the water holding capacity of the soil for plant growth and development. As a result of these, there is improve nutrients for organisms, increase in food production and availability thus ensuring food security, and of course increase in revenue for the economy.
Disadvantages of Agriculture Chemicals or Demerits of Agriculture Chemicals
As advantageous as agrochemicals may be there abound some disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages of agricultural chemicals are that some of these chemicals used in agriculture may reduce soil fertility, sources of pollution which are harmful to the environment and humans and so cause serious health problems if not used controllably.
Types of Agricultural Chemicals, Types of Agriculture Chemicals, Types of Agrochemicals or Types of Agrichemicals
There are different types of agricultural chemicals and these agrochemicals are as follows.
Fertilizer is a type of agriculture chemical that is used mainly in agriculture for the growth of plants and thereby increase plant production. Fertilizers are normally applied on a prepared farmland before, during or after planting. One of the importance of fertilizers is to supplement soil nutrients or replenish lost soil nutrients. Fertilizers are provide major macronutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) which are referred to as the three main macronutrients. Fertilizers also provide secondary macronutrients such as Magnesium, Calcium and Sulphur. Apart from these macronutrients, fertilizers also provide micronutrients ( e.g boron, manganese, iron, zinc, etc) for plants when applied to the soil for plants to absorb. These nutrients are essential for a range of functions such as growth and development of all parts of a plant.
Classification of Fertilizers
Fertilizers are classified into three based on the number of nutrients they contain.
These are fertilizers classified according to one major nutrient as its component. Thus it can be nitrogen-based fertilizers (e.g ammonia or ammonium nitrates) and phosphate-based fertilizer (e.g superphosphates).
These are fertilizers containing more than one nutrient as components. These include a combination of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potassium or Phosphorus and Potassium hence are called binary fertilizers. However, fertilizers made up of the three(3) nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium are called NPK fertilizers otherwise called compound fertilizers.
Types of Fertilizers
There are two types of fertilizers based on the sources they are derived from. These are
Organic fertilizers are fertilizers obtained from organic sources. They are also called natural fertilizers. The organic sources from which organic fertilizers are gotten from includes but not limited to manure. Simply put, organic fertilizers are fertilizers made from plant or animal waste.
Inorganic fertilizers or synthetic fertilizers are fertilizers obtained from chemical reactions hence they are also called chemical fertilizers or artificial fertilizers.
Forms of Fertilizers
There are two forms of fertilizers and the forms of fertilizers are as follows.
Granular fertilizers are fertilizers that exist as solid granules hence might be referred to as solid fertilizers. Because they are solid in nature, they do not instantly release their nutrients to plants and so takes sometime before the nutrients are made available for plants or crops. They are either worked into the soil or put on the surface of the soil around plants. The rate of release of these nutrients depends on the formulation of the particular granular fertilizer hence granular fertilizers are now known to have “controlled-released properties” in which some of them can release their nutrients slower than others and vice versa.
Liquid fertilizers are the forms of fertilizers that are easily dissolve in water to form solution hence they are called liquid fertilizers irrespective of whether they are in powdered form before dissolution or are entirely liquid concentrates.
Liming agents and acidifying agents are used when there is too much soil acidity or soil alkalinity. Liming agents and acidifying agents are agriculture chemicals used maintaining a balance and acidity of the soil because different plants do better in different soil. Thus these agents adjust the PH of the soil to optimum PH that will be best for the growth of plants. When there is too much acid in the soil, liming agent like Calcium Hydroxide is applied to neutralize the acidity. However, if the soil is have high alkalinity and a plant that will do better in slightly acidic soil is to be grown then acidifying agents containing sulphur compounds are applied to the alkaline soil in order to neutralize the soil alkalinity.
Pesticides are agriculture chemicals and insecticides are types of pesticides that kill insects. Herbicides are agriculture chemicals that kill weeds and/or other unwanted plants and so herbicides are types of pesticides. Pesticides, insecticides and herbicides are agrochemicals used in controlling and getting of unwanted organisms which could be of plant or animal origin that cause damage or disease to plants. Pesticides that contain carbon are called organic pesticides while those that lack carbon are called inorganic pesticides. They also compete with organisms for nutrients, space, water, etc. There are different classification for pesticides this is because while some pesticides are repel pests others are used kill pests. It should be noted that there are two types of herbicides which are selective pesticides also known as general pesticides and non-selective pesticides. Other types of pesticides are fungicides, rodenticides, etc.
Plant hormones are also called phytohormones. Plant hormones are typical agriculture chemicals or chemical messengers produced in some parts of a plant which however have physiological functions on target tissues which may be away from the site where they are produced. With the exception of ethylene which is a growth inhibitor, typical plant hormones are growth agents in that they help stimulate and regulate growth and development of plants. Plant hormones are produced by different parts of a plant. These plant hormones have direct effects or indirect effects through secondary messengers on their target tissues or cells. Research has shown that plant hormones either work synergistically or antagonistically.
Examples of Plant Hormones
Among the numerous plant hormones that have been identified, on this context, there are five(5) major plant hormones. The common typical examples of hormones are auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, abscisic acid and ethylene.
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