Monday, November 3, 2008

Time for dung

"I've written about this one before – well fertilized wheat is 14% protein while unfertilized wheat grown on fallow ground is 8%. Farmers in the Dakotas seem to be using about 60% of the normal fertilizer amount and if the relationship is linear protein percentages will drop to about 11% and there will be an attendant yield decrease. Some countries, like Egypt, have people surviving on $2 per day and eating subsidized wheat bread. Cut the protein in it by a quarter, which is what this change in fertilization means, and people that were making it before suddenly aren't any more. Egypt has already seen food riots. This problem is past tense, too – the northern hemisphere winter wheat is already in the ground."

From Daily Kos, sent to me by dear Leila. Read the article, but I need to do some research on this. Its my field, but I've let it lapse recently, too busy with other things.


Leila said...

Did you see where this other Daily Kos diarist "refuted" his diary - lobbying for nitrogen-fixing cover crops, from what I understand:

Which seems in line with your headline "Time for Dung". Unless you were being ironic?

Rami Zurayk said...

I was serious, of course. Integration of animal and crop production is a must, as are green manures. But I think we will still need some synthetic fertilizers, unless we operate a major livelihoods change.