Read the lesson in English  
then translate to your own language to verify your understanding.

Fertilizer Shortage

Apr 26, 2022

 

Our English vocabulary selection today regards fertilizer. You know, fertilizer, the stuff you add to the ground where you are growing plants to make them grow better, and faster.

Fertilizer is a very relevant topic since there is now a global shortage of this important product because of disruptions in the supply chain caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.  Today, I will teach you some vocabulary that you’ll need to know in order to read and talk about this issue in English.

But before we begin with the lesson, let me remind you that if you are listening to this lesson on an audio podcast, you can also find this lesson on video on my webpage englishforeconomists.com. Using video is a different –– and effective –– way to study, so make it part of your study strategy. You will find all my video lessons at www.englishforeconomists.com.

Okay. Let’s get started with the key vocabulary, then you’ll hear a short text for listening practice. In the end, at the end, we’ll review one last time.

KEY VOCABULARY

Synthetic fertilizer: Chemically manufactured fertilizer containing one or more of the primary nutrients necessary for plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Crop: A cultivated plant that is grown as food, especially a grain, fruit, or vegetable.

Soil: The black or dark brown material where plants grow.

Harvest: the process or period of gathering crops.

Replenish: To restore to a previous level or condition.

Nutrient: A substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and life.

Leafing: The period when plants put out new leaves.

Food growers: This includes the companies, the farmers, and the workers who produce food.

Manure: Animal dung, which is a polite way to describe what comes out of the back end of a cow. Manure can be used as an organic fertilizer.

Compost: Decomposed plant and food waste. Compost can be used as an organic fertilizer.

Bone meal: Crushed bone. Bone meal can be used as an organic fertilizer.

 

Here is the reading. Listen closely:

To grow healthy crops full of nutrients, food growers need to make sure they have healthy soil. The problem is that when crops are harvested, important nutrients are removed from the soil. That’s because those nutrients are now in the food you eat. So, to put nutrients back into the soil, food producers add synthetic or organic fertilizer.

Fertilizer is most effective when used on plants at their peak growing period. This is when the plant is leafing, flowering, or putting on new growth after winter.

Did you know that bananas consume the most fertilizer by a very large margin?  Citrus crops, like oranges, are next, followed by vegetables, tubers, and grains. Peas and beans require very little fertilizer –– less than 10% of what bananas need. That’s because peas and beans can absorb nitrogen from the air –– something the other plants can’t do.

According to a recent article in Bloomberg, fertilizer prices have surged after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up the cost of natural gas, the main input for most nitrogen fertilizer. This has forced some producers in Europe to cut output.  To make matters worse, potential sanctions on Russia, which is a big exporter of every major kind of crop nutrient, could further disrupt global trade.

In some countries, the fertilizer shortage may become a national security crisis, since smaller crop yields will lead to higher prices for consumers, and lower incomes for food producers.

This current shortage and price of commercially produced and imported fertilizer may encourage policymakers to rethink policies regarding the promotion and use of organic fertilizer, such as manure, compost, and bone meal, among other alternative products.t

What do you think of this lesson?
Do you have any questions or concerns?
Let us know.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Podcasts

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A recent headline in the Economist magazine states “In the world of greenery, no good deed goes unpunished”.   This headline is a great place for an English lesson. Let’s start with the word ‘greenery’. In this case, the word ‘greenery’ refers to the future shift in...

Turkey Becomes Türkiye

Turkey Becomes Türkiye

This podcast lesson deals with the recent name change of the Middle Eastern country that forms a bridge between Asia and Europe, Turkey.  In this podcast lesson, you’ll learn all about Turkey’s new name and how to pronounce it in English. https://youtu.be/oYLqH-QDQ9Y...

Hiring Spree

Hiring Spree

What does ‘hiring spree’ mean? See how it is used in this headline:Good News on Jobs May Mean Bad News Later as Hiring Spree Defies Fed(nytimes.com: August 5, 2022)Hiring Spree: a sustained, energetic period of hiring a lot of people. Es un 'boom' de contrataciones....

Friend-shoring

Friend-shoring

In this English vocabulary lesson, you’ll learn a fairly new expression in English: ‘friend-shoring’. Headline: Yellen says the U.S. and its allies should use 'friend-shoring' to give supply chains a boost Three words to highlight here: ‘allies’, ‘friend-shoring’, and...

UN Population Projections

UN Population Projections

In this English lesson for economists, we’ll look at some population facts recently released by the United Nations. See video lesson: https://youtu.be/KoML3sTi1KM Hi everyone. Today is July 20, 2022. Well, sometimes the planet feels like a pretty crowded place to be....

Crypto Asset Prices Fall

Crypto Asset Prices Fall

Hi everyone. Today is July 13, 2022. Well, you have probably heard about the drop in the price of crypto assets. It began early in the year and has picked up some speed recently.  Bitcoin, to name just one example, has fallen from $68,000 to below $20,000. ...

Share This