Unique product variety in the Werra valley
The salt deposit of the Werra potash district lies on the edge of the Zechstein Age so-called Central European Basin. The mineralogical composition of this deposit is unparalleled anywhere in the world, giving the potash plant a unique variety of products.
In contrast to most potash deposits, for example in North America, crude salt is found here that contains not only potassium but also magnesium sulfate and therefore both magnesium and sulfur. As a result, the Werra plant can produce fertilizers that provide higher yields through an optimal and balanced nutrient supply.
This is becoming increasingly important, especially against the background of climate change. The researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg assume that drought and drought will increase in Germany during the summer months in the coming years.
Magnesium, in particular, is an important ingredient in fertilizers so that farmers do not suffer any loss in their harvests. This strengthens root growth so that the plants still have sufficient water even when there is little rain. In addition, the nutrient increases the plants' resistance to stress.
Wide range of applications
The broad mineralogical base of the deposit in the Werra potash district also makes it possible to manufacture products for industrial, technical, pharmaceutical, and food applications. High-purity salts from the Werra plant make an important contribution to maintaining and restoring health. They are used as feedstock, in the pharmaceutical and animal feed industries and can be found, for example, in infusion solutions and standard injections. However, they also serve as carrier solutions for pharmaceuticals and are contained in mineral drinks, sports nutrition and feed for farm animals such as horses, cattle and sheep. They are also indispensable precursors for the construction industry, for example, because products from the Werra plant are also needed to manufacture plasterboard, for example.
International importance in food security
And not only in Germany, but also worldwide, the unique products of the Werra are in demand, especially against the background of the growing world population. In his book "Die organische Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf Agricultur und Physiologie" ("Organic Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Physiology"), the German chemist Justus von Liebig pointed out two fundamental laws to promote plant growth as early as the middle of the 19th century: According to the "law of substitution", constant crop yields can only be achieved with constant use of a field if the mineral elements extracted from the plants are returned to the soil by fertilizers. The "law of the minimum" assumes that every plant needs a certain mixture of mineral nutrients for its growth. It states that the yield of a plant is determined by the nutrient that is available in the smallest amount. If a substance is present in too small a quantity, this cannot be compensated by a higher dose of other nutrients. According to these basic findings, which are still valid today, a balanced supply of potassium, magnesium and sulfur must be ensured in order to make optimum use of the nitrogen and phosphorus present in the soil. And so current studies show that yields remain more constant in the long term through balanced fertilization with potassium and magnesium than with pure potassium fertilization. This is an important characteristic in a world in which the number of people living on them is approaching the 10 billion mark.