Friday, June 17, 2011

Phosphorus fertilizer buildup - a solution

A headline on the business page in yesterday's Blade:
Algae food found in 30% of Ohio farmland - Phosphorus linked to outbreaks on lake
"Ohio's six state agency directors learned Wednesday that nearly a third of all Buckeye State farmland is believed to contain too much phosphorus, one of many possible reasons for large annual algae outbreaks in western Lake Erie since 1995."

This is another reason to switch to intelligent organic/ecological farming techniques. Phosphorus from commercial chemical fertilizers is rather quickly bound up into in insoluble form that is unavailable to the plants - hence its accumulation in the soil. To release that bound-up phosphorus requires the biological action of soil microorganisms, especially fungi. Chemical farming tends to kill off the soil life, making the soil more vulnerable to erosion and requiring yet more chemical fertilizers, but sophisticated ecological farming methods encourage and support the soil life, making the bound up phosphorus and other minerals, as well as nitrogen from the air, available for plant utilization.

It's time we face the reality of what our commercial farming methods are doing to the environment. Ecological farming that is well done can be just as productive as conventional methods, while producing higher quality, more profitable crops.

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