By the end of 2022, controlled-release fertilizer sales on a global scale are anticipated to reach $3 billion. The main factor influencing controlled release fertilizer sales is the use of diverse strategies to produce and develop quality crops. Furthermore, producers of controlled-release fertilizer are concentrating on enhancing the productivity of the crops to support the expansion of the same in the long term. Thus, by registering a modest CAGR of 5% throughout the assessment period of 2022–2031, it is anticipated that sales of controlled release fertilizer will surpass US$ 4.9 billion.

The type of soil, level of soil fertility among different soil types, the ratio of available nutrients, crop type, and weather affect the type & quantity of fertilizers applied to crops. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to implement innovative measures that use sensor and satellite technologies to improve the efficiency of agricultural inputs, particularly fertilizer.

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The Controlled Release Fertilizer (CRF) Market is experiencing notable growth as the global agriculture sector seeks sustainable and efficient nutrient management solutions. Controlled release fertilizers, also known as slow-release fertilizers, are designed to provide a gradual and sustained release of essential nutrients to plants over an extended period. As of 2023, the market is witnessing increased adoption driven by the need for improved fertilizer efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and enhanced crop yields. The controlled release fertilizer sector is characterized by innovation, strategic collaborations, and a growing focus on precision agriculture.

Global Controlled Release Fertilizer Market: Segmentation

Key Segments Covered

  • Product

    • Polymer Sulfur Coated Urea/Sulfur Coated Urea Controlled Release Fertilizer
    • Polymer Coated Urea Controlled Release Fertilizer
    • Polymer Coated NPK Controlled Release Fertilizer
  • Crop

    • Controlled Release Fertilizers for Cereals & Grains
    • Controlled Release Fertilizers for Oilseeds & Pulses
    • Controlled Release Fertilizers for Fruits & Vegetables
    • Controlled Release Fertilizers for Other Crops

Key Market Drivers:

  • Efficient Nutrient Delivery: One of the primary drivers of the controlled release fertilizer market is its ability to efficiently deliver nutrients to plants over an extended duration. This controlled and gradual release ensures that plants receive a consistent supply of nutrients, minimizing the risk of nutrient leaching and promoting optimal nutrient absorption by crops.

  • Environmental Sustainability: Growing concerns about environmental sustainability in agriculture are propelling the adoption of controlled release fertilizers. These fertilizers contribute to reducing the environmental impact associated with conventional fertilization methods by minimizing nutrient runoff, groundwater contamination, and greenhouse gas emissions. The move towards sustainable agriculture practices is a key driver in the CRF market.

  • Increased Crop Yields: Controlled release fertilizers play a pivotal role in maximizing crop yields. The gradual release of nutrients aligns with the specific growth stages of plants, ensuring that the right nutrients are available when needed. This precision in nutrient delivery enhances overall plant health and productivity, making CRFs a valuable tool for farmers striving to optimize their yields.

Key Companies Profiled

  • AgroBridge (m) Sdn. Bhd.
  • ATS (Growth Products)
  • Compo GmbH & Co. KG
  • Ekompany International B.V
  • Eurochem Agro Gmbh
  • Greenfeed Agro Sdn Bhd
  • Haifa Group
  • Hanfeng Evergreen Inc.
  • Harrell’s LLC
  • HIF Tech Sdn Bhd
  • Israel Chemicals Ltd
  • JNC Corporation (Chisso)
  • Kingenta International
  • Nufarm Ltd.
  • Nutrien
  • The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
  • Smart Fert Sdn Bhd
  • Sociedad Quimica Y Minera De Chile SA
  • Yara International

Current Industry Trends (2023):

  • Polymer-Coated Urea Domination: Polymer-coated urea remains a dominant trend in the controlled release fertilizer market. Polymer coatings provide a controlled release mechanism for nitrogen, preventing nitrogen losses through volatilization and leaching. The popularity of polymer-coated urea is attributed to its effectiveness in supplying a steady and prolonged release of nitrogen to crops.

  • Integration of Smart Technologies: The integration of smart technologies and precision agriculture practices is a notable trend in the CRF market. Smart fertilization systems leverage data analytics, sensors, and digital platforms to optimize the application of controlled release fertilizers based on real-time environmental and crop conditions. This trend aligns with the broader move towards precision farming.

  • Focus on Specialty Crops: There is a growing focus on the application of controlled release fertilizers in specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, and high-value crops. The demand for specialty crop production has increased, and CRFs are gaining traction as an effective tool for meeting the specific nutrient requirements of these crops and ensuring high-quality yields.

  • Environmentally Friendly Coating Materials: Manufacturers are increasingly exploring environmentally friendly coating materials for controlled release fertilizers. Biodegradable and eco-friendly coatings align with the sustainability goals of agriculture and contribute to reducing the environmental footprint of fertilization practices.

Increasing Uptake of Polymer Coated NPK Fertilizers by Preventing Soil Degradation?

Over the past ten years, nitrogen-based controlled release fertilisers have become more popular due to their accessibility and low cost. Furthermore, due to its potential ability to lower N2O emissions, controlled release nitrogen fertilisers have attracted attention in the fertiliser industry.

Polymer-coated NPK controlled release fertilisers avoid soil deterioration by slowly releasing nutrients over protracted times, often lasting from three months to 18 months. Thus, it is anticipated that polymer-coated NPK fertilisers will account for 45% of market share throughout the forecast period.

Global Industry News (2023):

  • Strategic Partnerships for Market Expansion: Collaborations and strategic partnerships between controlled release fertilizer manufacturers and agribusiness stakeholders are shaping the global expansion of the market. These partnerships may involve joint research and development initiatives, distribution agreements, and the sharing of expertise to expand the market presence of CRFs.

  • Regulatory Compliance and Certification: Regulatory compliance and certification initiatives are gaining importance in the CRF market. Manufacturers are focusing on obtaining certifications that validate the efficacy, safety, and environmental sustainability of their controlled release fertilizer products. Compliance with international standards enhances market credibility and supports global market access.

  • Investments in Research and Development: Ongoing investments in research and development are driving innovation in controlled release fertilizer technologies. Research efforts focus on improving coating materials, nutrient release profiles, and compatibility with various crops and soils. These investments contribute to the continual evolution of CRFs to meet the evolving needs of modern agriculture.

  • Market Penetration in Developing Regions: The controlled release fertilizer market is witnessing increased penetration in developing regions with expanding agricultural activities. Manufacturers are targeting these regions with tailored products and educational initiatives to promote the benefits of CRFs, ultimately contributing to sustainable and productive agriculture practices.