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Overfertilization

See under fertilisation.

Term for the practice in agriculture of compensating for a deficiency in the soil by adding nutrients of a mineral and organic nature. The name is derived from "manure" (excrement of herbivores, especially ungulates). This oldest form of fertiliser was already used six millennia ago. Targeted fertilisation began in the 18th century with wood ash, lime and marl. Around 1840, the German chemist Justus Liebig (1803-1873) proved the growth-promoting effect of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. In his main work "Organic Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Physiology" he wrote: " The soil must regain in full what is taken from it by harvesting.

Conventional agrochemistry

Until the 1950s, it was common practice worldwide to use massive amounts of chemicals in fertilisation and in the fight against pests, because little was known about the negative effects. Climate change also contributes to negative development. Today's conventional agrochemical practices, with large-scale use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides to fight pests such as insects, weeds and microorganisms, have come under increasing criticism since the 1980s and are considered incompatible with sustainability and organic agriculture. However, a radical departure from these practices is hardly realistic in the short term, also due to crop failures. The targeted and well-dosed use of modern agrochemicals can help to combat crop failures and thus world hunger.

Reasons for fertilisation

Of course, these principles also apply to viticulture. During the annual vegetation cycle in the vineyard, large amounts of nutrients are removed from the soil. Losses occur through leaching (on light soils especially of boron, potassium and magnesium), erosion (soil erosion especially on slopes), gaseous loss (especially nitrogen) and fixation (binding of nutrients in forms not available to plants), as well as through the grape harvest. A vine with about 200 leaves produces about half a kilo of dry matter, i.e. shoots, leaves and grapes, in the annual vegetative cycle. Within the EU, there are legally defined fertiliser regulations for agriculturally used areas.

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