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- Why we underestimate the importance of agrochemistry and mineral fertilizers in the rise of agriculture
Video: Mineral Fertilizers - Benefit Or Harm (part 2)
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Why we underestimate the importance of agrochemistry and mineral fertilizers in the rise of agriculture
Can we now raise the question of reducing the use of mineral fertilizers? Not! Can we switch to alternative and biological, organic farming? Not! This is a return to the Middle Ages, a deliberate advancement of our state towards hunger.
Here are some proofs from publications of foreign scientists.
When switching to new methods in agriculture, the issue of increasing yields is very important. The experience of foreign countries convincingly shows that when biologizing agriculture, it is not possible to achieve high yields. In the studies carried out on the instructions of FAO - on the possible consequences of switching to alternative farming (without the use or with a minimum amount of chemicals) - it was concluded that cereal yields will decrease by 10-20%, potatoes and sugar beets - by 35%. According to the generalized data for Germany, the state will receive the following yield reduction: wheat - by 20-30%; rye - by 30; oats - 20; barley - 30; potatoes - by 55%. At the universities of the states of Iowa and California (USA), using linear programming models, they estimated possible changes in US agricultural production during the transition from traditional to alternative methods.The analysis showed that in this case the wheat harvest (depending on the region) will decrease by 40-44%, grain fodder crops - by 41-48, soybeans - by 30-49, cotton fiber - by 13-33%. In the agricultural model developed for the Netherlands, in which the possibilities of eliminating the use of mineral fertilizers are analyzed, the field crop yield is taken equal to 70% of the achieved level.
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The Committee on the Biologization of Agriculture in the Netherlands, on the basis of a long study, concluded that a purely biological system is possible only in extreme cases - with a significant deterioration in environmental conditions, since with biological farming, crop yields are significantly reduced. Experts note that when growing modern varieties of field crops, it is imperative to use fertilizers, fungicides and other chemicals. It is recommended to use less intensive chemicals only in areas of protection of water sources and on crops intended for baby and dietary nutrition. In other production conditions, complete biologization of agricultural production is not yet possible. Even with an increase in the price of grain by 70% and potatoes by 100%, biological farming is economically unprofitable.
In Germany, in all the years of winter wheat cultivation using the alternative technology, they received a significantly lower yield than the traditional one. In some cases, biological methods still gave a satisfactory result, which is explained by the high level of fertility of these soils and the aftereffect of previously applied mineral fertilizers. On average, over four years without the use of chemicals, the yield of wheat of the Ares variety was 50.3 c / ha, Kraka - 48.3 and Okapi - 48.7 c / ha, and with fertilizers and pesticides - higher by 30, 32 and 31, respectively. %. The quality of products obtained from traditional and alternative farming is of great importance in assessing farming systems. Two aspects of this problem are commonly discussed - nutritional value and safety for human and animal health.Proponents of agricultural biologization emphasize their advantage in precisely these positions.
Regarding the first aspect (nutritional value of food), there is no convincing evidence of an increase in the content of beneficial nutrients in foods obtained through alternative farming practices. In a nine-year experiment at the Scandinavian Research Center (Sweden), under the conditions of two crop rotations, the quality of products grown under traditional and biological farming systems was compared. In the first case, mineral fertilizers and pesticides were used, in the second - only organic fertilizers and biological products. The amount of nutrients (NPK) supplied to the plants by both systems was practically the same. On the farms of the Federal Republic of Germany, similar results were obtained. In some years, the quality of wheat in biological farming was even worse than in the traditional method of cultivation: the weight of 1000 grains is lower,1-3% - lower protein content, less bread volume. In experiments with potatoes, "biological" tubers contained significantly less nitrogenous substances and an equal amount of phosphorus and potassium than tubers obtained with a traditional cultivation system.
Also, no relationship was found between the farming system and the safety of products for human and animal health (in the second aspect). For example, in Switzerland, a commission of experts did not find a difference between "biological" and "ordinary" vegetables. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the consumer association also came to the conclusion that organic farming products are no better than others. In Austria, researchers question the benefits of "biological" foods, as it has not been proven that those who eat them are healthier and live longer.
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However, one should not discount the results of some studies, in particular in the UK, proving that in biological farming there are more prerequisites (and only prerequisites) for obtaining products with optimal nutritional value and ecological purity. It is known that nitrates, potassium and heavy metals are the most toxic for human and animal nutrition. When biologizing agriculture, it is assumed that the amount of these substances in plant products will be lower. The evidence, however, is not yet available. It should be borne in mind that the accumulation of toxic substances in plants is also influenced by other factors - illumination, low soil fertility, soil pH and others.
Organic fertilizers, especially if used incorrectly, can cause excessive accumulation of nitrates in plants. Experiments have shown that doses of manure from 20 to 60 t / ha have no significant effect on the level of nitrates. The concentration of nitrates in the hay of perennial grasses grown with the introduction of 80 t / ha of manure was 1.2 times higher than the MPC. The method of applying manure is also important: with uneven application on the field, areas with an increased content of it are formed - up to 150-200 t / ha and above, which excludes the receipt of environmentally friendly products. During the chemicalization of agriculture, it is alarming that nutrients, fertilizers and pesticide residues enter water bodies during water, wind and irrigation erosion with rain and melt waters.
It has been found that the application of fertilizers enhances the flow of pollutants into water sources. The more soil is washed away during erosion, the more minerals enter the ground and surface waters. Under biological systems, soil loss is significantly less: on "organic" farms in the United States it is 8 t / ha annually, and on traditional ones - 32 t / ha. This shows how much stronger the polluting effect of conventional farming is, if from each hectare of plowed plow, on average, it enters the water sources (kg / ha): nitrogen - 35.2-64.2; phosphorus - 2.2-3.3; potassium - 8.1-10.5; calcium - 10.4-16.9 and magnesium - 3.7-7.6. However, fertilizers cannot be blamed for this. It is not the fertilizers themselves that are washed off, but all the soil where the fertilizers were used is washed off. More elements will always be washed away from fertile soil than from poor soil.
Somewhat different patterns in the leaching of elements of mineral nutrition of plants outside the root layer and entering the groundwater. In these cases, no significant difference was found between biological and traditional farming methods.
On the basis of all the above, we can conclude that with the transition to biological farming systems, a sharp drop in yield occurs, and the special nutritional value of "biological" products has not yet been proven. At present, mineral fertilizers made in accordance with GOST and recommended by the science of agrochemistry, subject to the rules of their use, are themselves safe, and vegetable, fruit and berry products grown on their basis are also ecologically safe.
We wish success to all gardeners and summer residents!
Gennady Vasyaev, Associate Professor, Chief Specialist of the North-West Regional Scientific Center of the Russian Agricultural Academy, Olga Vasyaeva,
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