Calcium Products - The Fertilizer Divide
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The Fertilizer Divide

Have you heard about the climate divide?  That is a term sometimes used to describe the differences in energy use & the associated greenhouse emissions, between the United States and countries like sub-Saharan Africa.  A reference article on climate divide: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/02/health/02iht-climate.1.5109623.html

The term fertilizer divide is being used to describe the differences in fertilizer use between countries.  In a report published in the June 19 issue of Science, China is specifically chided for using too much, according to Peter Vitousek, a professor of biology at Stanford University and senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment.   Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/su-shm061609.php

"Some parts of the world, including much of China, use far too much fertilizer," Vitousek said. "But in sub-Saharan Africa, where 250 million people remain chronically malnourished, nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrient inputs are inadequate to maintain soil fertility." 

In the report, Vitousek and colleagues compared fertilizer use in three corn-growing regions of the world-north China, western Kenya and the upper Midwestern United States.  The area in China used 525 pounds of nitrogen per acre (588 kilograms per hectare) annually in growing corn.  200 pounds per acre (227 kilograms per hectare) of excess nitrogen is released into the environment.  By comparison, Kenya only used 6 pounds per acre (7 kilograms per hectare), in a 2004 study. 

Statistics show that from 2003 to 2005, annual corn yields in parts of the Midwestern United States and north China were almost the same, even though Chinese farmers used six times more nitrogen fertilizer than their American counterparts and generated nearly 23 times the amount of excess nitrogen.

So why is the United States' farmer always the bad boy of fertilizer use?  Sounds to me (Glen) like China deserves more scrutiny & Kenya deserves more support. 

 

 

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Maintained by Craig Dick, blogronomist and VP of Sales and Marketing, we have a wide array of blog articles from Craig and some expert guests on topics related to soil and crop health, farming and growing tips, and so much more. If it’s not here, ask us!

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