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August 28, 2014

Biologically Sourced Tools in Plant Nutrition Need a New Appraisal

Posted by Agricen

This is Part 3 in our five-part series about sustainable growing practices and how they are changing agriculture. 

For thousands of years, the world regarded the act of growing a plant in the soil as a biological process. But—as in all systems—the need for scalability to meet growing demands called for new, more efficient technologies to improve food production.

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The agricultural advancements of the post–World War II era were nothing short of transformational in the scheme of human affairs.

Around the world, food production skyrocketed, owing to improved seed varieties, modernized irrigation, better control of plant diseases and pests, efficiencies created by broad availability and use of chemical fertilizers, and evangelists like Dr. Norman Borlaug, who promoted these practices to help the world feed itself.

As the agricultural practices of the Green Revolution swept the world, the contribution of biological elements to crop production received significantly less attention.

The Next Green Revolution

In more recent years, we have realized that the gains achieved through the tools of the Green Revolution are not limitless.

We have also realized that the intensity of agricultural production has some significant, long-term impacts on soil, air and water resources. This has prompted a renewed interest in the biological elements of crop production, including the use of soil management practices such as conservation tillage and organic matter augmentation, meant to improve the conditions of the soil and the organisms that it harbors. They have also led to the development of new biological and biochemical plant nutrition technologies, ones that are firmly rooted in science, and that can be incorporated into current growing practices to enhance agricultural sustainability and increase yields.

However, until recently, agronomists and other researchers have largely dismissed the possibility that biologically sourced tools could contribute significantly to feeding a growing population.

In our next blog post, we’ll ask “why?” We’ll also explore the challenges of developing biologically sourced tools.

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This is Part 3 of our five-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5) about sustainable growing practices. To learn more about Agricen and our contributions to sustainable growing practices, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

Topics: Sustainability, Ag Biologicals & Biostimulants