Maximize the efficiency of using Phosphorus to fight Phosphorus depletion

The depletion of Phosphorus supply sources will make it increasingly difficult to produce phosphate fertilizers globally. For this reason, targeting the solubilization of phosphorus contained in cultivated soils and not used by plants, due to its non-soluble forms, is essential. How?

 

Phosphorus depletion nel contest globale

Along with Nitrogen and Potassium, Phosphorus represents one of the most quantitatively required elements by plant crops, in order to develop properly and guarantee adequate yields, in terms of quantity and quality.

For this reason, the progressive reduction in the availability of this element – also known as ‘Phosphorus depletion’ – raises serious concerns in the agricultural world and in institutions. A lack of phosphate nutrition in agricultural crops could have very serious repercussions on the food security of the entire world population and cause global tensions between players of different “calibre” and importance in world economic scenarios.

 

Phosphorus sources are running out

The main sources of supply of phosphorus are concentrated in Morocco, China, Russia and the United States, where there are of phosphate rock mines, more specifically apatite. These sources are downsizing significantly due to the intensive exploitation to which they have been subjected, mainly after World War II onwards.

 

A highly impactful production process

The extraction of phosphorus from apatite, which involves the use of furnaces and strong acids to promote its solubilization, is particularly expensive in terms of energy and has an environmental impact. Additionally, the product obtained must then be transported to the destination markets, which normally occurs by sea.

 

Phosphorus losses in agriculture

Currently, the world’s cultivated soils are being depleted of phosphorus, despite the high intake of chemical fertilizers. It is expected that in the medium term, on a global level, agricultural soils will suffer losses of this element at the rate of 4-19 kg/ha per year, mainly due to erosion phenomena, which contribute to more than 50% of the total loss and which, moreover, by dragging phosphorus into the seas, promote eutrophication. In addition, phosphorus, which is not lost through erosion, undergoes retrogradation to insoluble forms in soils, becoming unavailable for crops within a few weeks.

 

Agribios Italiana's response to Phosphorus depletion

The scenario outlined above implies that agriculture must  become aware of the need to reduce the inputs of mineral phosphorus in crops around the world, focusing on the effectiveness of the products distributed and therefore on the efficiency in terms of the bioavailability of the element. However,  it is equally essential to encourage supplying crops with unused phosphorus stocks accumulated in our land. At Agribios, we believe that the concrete answer to the problem of phosphorus in agriculture lies in the use of organic or organo-mineral fertilizers, well-known for their ability to release nutrients for extended periods of time, protecting them from losses due to runoff and immobilization. Furthermore, the inoculation of fertilizers with specific useful microorganisms favours the solubilization of phosphorus levels immobilized in agricultural soils in decades of mineral fertilization. This is also why we are convinced that the use of inoculated fertilizers, which Agribios Italiana was the first company to place on the national market, represents an essential choice for agriculture today and even more so for tomorrow.

 


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