Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 408318
Title Improved phosphorus use efficiency in agriculture: A key requirement for its sustainable use
Author(s) Schroder, J.J.; Smit, A.L.; Cordell, D.; Rosemarin, A.
Source Chemosphere 84 (2011)6. - ISSN 0045-6535 - p. 822 - 831.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.01.065
Department(s) PPO/PRI AGRO Duurzame Bedrijfssystemen
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) organic farming systems - soil fertility - nitrogen use - maize - release - erosion - indexes - quality - europe - crops
Abstract Mineral phosphorus (P) fertilizers processed from fossil reserves have enhanced food production over the past 50 years and, hence, the welfare of billions of people. Fertilizer P has, however, not only been used to lift the fertility level of formerly poor soils, but also allowed people to neglect the reuse of P that humans ingest in the form of food and excrete again as faeces and urine and also in other organic wastes. Consequently, P mainly moves in a linear direction from mines to distant locations for crop production, processing and consumption, where a large fraction eventually may become either agronomically inactive due to over-application, unsuitable for recycling due to fixation, contamination or dilution, and harmful as a polluting agent of surface water. This type of P use is not sustainable because fossil phosphate rock reserves are finite. Once the high quality phosphate rock reserves become depleted, too little P will be available for the soils of food-producing regions that still require P supplements to facilitate efficient utilization of resources other than P, including other nutrients. The paper shows that the amounts of P applied in agriculture could be considerably smaller by optimizing land use, improvement of fertilizer recommendations and application techniques, modified livestock diets, and adjustment of livestock densities to available land. Such a concerted set of measures is expected to reduce the use of P in agriculture whilst maintaining crop yields and minimizing the environmental impact of P losses. The paper also argues that compensation of the P exported from farms should eventually be fully based on P recovered from ‘wastes’, the recycling of which should be stimulated by policy measures. Keywords: Fertilizer; Land use; Manure; Phosphorus; Efficiency; Surplus
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