Approximately 200 million tonnes of grain are traded worldwide every year, equating to 15% of total world production with wheat and feed grains accounting for half. While the majority of the world's grain supplies comes from the five most important exporting countries (USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, EU), more than 100 countries are in demand of grain.

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With a growing worldwide demand for meat the demand for feedstuffs is rising accordingly. The most important product is oil meal, a by-product derived from the processing of oilseeds into oils. Meanwhile, more than 55 million tonnes of oilmeals are traded worldwide with soybean meal accounting for 70%.

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Oilseed Crops are grown primarily for the oil contained in the seeds. The oil content of small grains (eg, wheat) is only 1-2%; that of oilseeds ranges from about 20% for SOYBEANS to over 40% for SUNFLOWERS and rapeseed (CANOLA). The major world sources of edible seed oils are soybeans, sunflowers, rapeseed, cotton and peanuts. Seed oils from FLAX (linseed) and castor beans are used for industrial purposes.

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Fertilizers are most commonly used to provide 3 of the 17 elements essential for plant growth: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P205) and potassium (K20). Other less commonly required elements are sulphur, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, boron and zinc. Manufactured or commercial fertilizers are sold on the basis of the N, P205 and K20 content (expressed as percentages) and usually contain a high proportion of one or more of these elements. For example, urea, a commonly used fertilizer, has the analysis 46-0-0, indicating that it contains 46% N but no P2O5 or K20. The 11-55-0 analysis of a commonly used ammonium-phosphate fertilizer indicates that it contains 11% N and 55% P2O5 but no K20.

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