Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fertilized World

"N. Nitrogen. Atomic number seven. Unnoticed, untasted, it nevertheless fills our stomachs. It is the engine of agriculture, the key to plenty in our crowded, hungry world.

Without this independent-minded element, disinclined to associate with other gases, the machinery of photosynthesis cannot function—no protein can form, and no plant can grow. Corn, wheat, and rice, the fast-growing crops on which humanity depends for survival, are among the most nitrogen hungry of all plants. They demand more, in fact, than nature alone can provide.

Enter modern chemistry. Giant factories capture inert nitrogen gas from the vast stores in our atmosphere and force it into a chemical union with the hydrogen in natural gas, creating the reactive compounds that plants crave. That nitrogen fertilizer—more than a hundred million tons applied worldwide every year—fuels bountiful harvests. Without it, human civilization in its current form could not exist. Our planet’s soil simply could not grow enough food to provide all seven billion of us our accustomed diet. In fact, almost half of the nitrogen found in our bodies’ muscle and organ tissue started out in a fertilizer factory.

Yet this modern miracle exacts a price. Runaway nitrogen is suffocating wildlife in lakes and estuaries, contaminating groundwater, and even warming the globe’s climate. As a hungry world looks ahead to billions more mouths needing nitrogen-rich protein, how much clean water and air will survive our demand for fertile fields?"

This is what our National Geographic friends are reading.  What do you think?  The lakes in Ohio have been in the news as the new fertilizer standards are discussed and adapted.  It is a slow process to change our ways.

The SAP test I saw from Holland at Farm to Plate confirmed to me what I've been seeing and that is we generally over nitrate crops and don't feed enough of the other 16 required elements for growing plants.

I have made a concerted effort to balance my soil fertility.  I have grown 200 bushel corn on 120 units of nitrogen.  That is excellent but my friends have done it with 80 units.  My cover crop friends have been able to accomplish that with no purchased nitrogen.

Ammonia nitrate is now blamed for the explosion in West, Texas.  What ignited it?  We need ammonia nitrate to grow food but accidents and algae will keep it high priced and remotely available.

Can we support this population without a 'fertilized world?"

Ed

5 comments:

  1. "almost half of the nitrogen found in our bodies’ muscle and organ tissue started out in a fertilizer factory"
    That is scary, Ed, and one of the reasons I try (and fail) eating organics: The hydrogen to bind the nitrogen fertilizer is currently taken from fracking natural gas. I don't know what they do with the carbon part of that methane, I suppose it gets released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This is an extremely inefficient way to use this great energy-rich resource. We could easily replace all our coal power plants with less polluting ones powered by natural gas, or use that natural gas in a better way.

    Why don't we get that hydrogen for fertilizer from ocean water?
    Somehow that scenario seems right and sustainable:
    - Solar panels for the electricity required for electrolysis;
    - Pump oceans water as fast as it rises due to global warming;
    - Electrolysis to extract hydrogen and release the oxygen;
    - Combine the hydrogen with the nitrogen from the air for fertilizer.
    - And you get some sea salt too to cook all this fertilized food!

    Electrolysis is probably just as inefficient as extracting hydrogen from natural gas, but it should be OK if it gets its power from cheap renewable solar. A couple of solar plants in the Western states have started selling solar electricity cheaper than coal electricity this year, even though solar energy is about twice as expensive in the U.S. as in Germany.

    And I know we'll never be able to pump ocean water as fast as it rises, it was a figure of speech. But we can pump it for other purposes too, like irrigation or drinking water: All the water used in Dubai comes from solar desalination plants, for instance. The biggest in the world. The U.S. and other countries should be able to do as well if not better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like my amomium nitrate.....I hope no new regulations come out making it harder to source or more costly for dealers to handle. My terminal said there price hasn't changed since the explosion so that's good to hear.

    Anything can be dangerous if put in the hands of the right/wrong person.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's already coming to Ohio Brad and has been here since Oklahoma.

    Chimel, that is a scary thought!

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's actually a cool and useful piece of information. I'm
    glad that you just shared this useful info with us. Please
    keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    my homepage; Tour Vietnam

    ReplyDelete
  5. タオバオ代行:http://jpdaikou.rigouwang.com
    タオバオ代行:http://www.86daikou.com
    タオバオ代行:http://www.tbdaikou.com
    タオバオ代行:http://www.daikounabi.com


    タオバオ代行王:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sy78bum4a.biz
    タオバオ代行なび:http://www.xn--q9js7na7hpe397wl8zf.com
    タオバオスズキ:http://www.xn--kckaj1cf0a4j.com
    タオバオ仕入れ:http://www.xn--pbkzca6f0d581uh0d.com
    タオバオ購入方法:http://www.xn--kcka5d7cs03uerza9nkkv6d.com
    タオバオ個人輸入:http://www.xn--kcka5d7cx04s0wbivdu93r.com
    タオバオ使い方:http://www.xn--n8j7ka6f0d596ubs6a.com
    タオバオ日本語:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c6788acvb2w6i.com
    タオバオ代行業者:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415syj7a2b7ak3n.com
    タオバオ代行格安:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sd4pgkudu2d.com
    タオバオ代行隊:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sr81eh3ua.com
    タオバオ出品代行:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415su4dhwfbq9j.net
    タオバオ購入代行:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sbfdbr1kh3h.com
    タオバオ代行達人:http://www.xn--kcka5d7cx04s9ga9787a7on.com
    タオバオ代行評価:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415su6an73vdod.com
    タオバオ代行金:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sr81eo6n.com
    タオバオ代行早い:http://www.xn--n8j7ka6f0d922u2x7adr7c.com
    タオバオ代行支払い:http://www.xn--n8j7ka6f0d922uvp2a30epl6g.com
    タオバオ代行センター:http://www.xn--kcka5cnd3hqlrcx049af8xg.com
    タオバオ代行送料:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415syq2au04c84m.com
    タオバオ代行なび:http://www.xn--q9js7na7hpe397wl8zf.com
    タオバオ購入:http://www.xn--kcka5d7cs03uez0e.com
    タオバオ代行便:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415szcbn94t.com
    タオバオ代行新幹線:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415s9stnrl870cswt.com
    中国タオバオ:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c800s0bl.com
    タオバオ出品:http://www.xn--kcka5d7cz17u5qd.com
    タオバオスズキ:http://www.xn--kckaj1cf0a4j.com
    タオバオ出店代行:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415su4d2v0ari0f.com
    中国代行:http://www.xn--fiq2qv4rxl7c.net
    中国タオバオ代行:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c800sl5ax39ao76g.com
    中国ネットショッピング:http://www.xn--qckn9abx2a7c4ioe8315abjua.com
    taobao代行:http://www.xn--taobao-ux8ig330b.com
    タオバオ代行:http://www.tbdaikou.com
    タオバオ代行:http://www.daikounabi.com
    タオバオ代行比較:http://www.xn--kcka5d7c415sekzbuw3b7hl.biz/

    ReplyDelete