Madrid, 6 (European press)
Prof Susan Schmidt from the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences said the adoption of micro-fertilization (PCS) strategy in large-scale farming could improve crop yields and soil health and divert biological waste from landfills where they generate harmful greenhouse gases.
“Instead of relying solely on mineral fertilizers, PCS involves supplementing the correct type of fertilizer with nutrients to meet the needs of the soil and crops,” Schmidt said.
“Soil that has become compacted and acidic becomes aerated and neutralized. The result is that it is able to hold more water, facilitate root growth and nourish the organisms that keep the soil and crops healthy.”
Soils play a critical role in ensuring global food security, Schmidt said. “But currently, 30 percent of the world’s agricultural land is classified as degraded, with expectations that this could rise to 90 percent by 2050,” he said.
“Our research estimates that PCS could boost annual global production of major cereal crops by 96 million tons, or 4 percent of current production. This has continuing implications for consumers in addressing food shortages and increasing prices.”
The study found that applying PCS to large-scale farming could also help mitigate climate change.
“In Australia alone, more than 7 million tons of biological waste ends up in landfills each year, generating massive amounts of avoidable greenhouse gases and other undesirable effects,” said Professor Schmidt.
“If we reuse it, we can restore important carbon to the topsoil of farmland. There are also cost benefits: Diverting just 15,000 tons of bio-waste could save the local council $2–3 million annually.”
More than 2,000 examples of compost use in the agricultural sector from around the world were analyzed as part of the PCS study. The research was supported by Fight Food Waste CRC and published in Nature Food.