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Phosphorus applications adjusted to optimal crop yields can help sustain global phosphorus reserves

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-21, 03:54 authored by Rich McDowellRich McDowell, Peter PletnyakovPeter Pletnyakov, Philip Haygarth
With the longevity of phosphorus reserves uncertain, distributing phosphorus to meet food production needs is a global challenge. Here we match plant-available soil Olsen phosphorus concentrations to thresholds for optimal productivity of improved grassland and 28 of the world's most widely grown and valuable crops. We find more land (73%) below optimal production thresholds than above. We calculate that an initial capital application of 56,954 kt could boost soil Olsen phosphorus to their threshold concentrations and that 28,067 kt yr−1 (17,500 kt yr−1 to cropland) could maintain these thresholds. Without additional reserves becoming available, it would take 454 years at the current rate of application (20,500 kt yr−1) to exhaust estimated reserves (2020 value), compared with 531 years at our estimated maintenance rate and 469 years if phosphorus deficits were alleviated. More judicious use of phosphorus fertilizers to account for soil Olsen phosphorus can help achieve optimal production without accelerating the depletion of phosphorus reserves.

Funding

Funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment's Our Land and Water National Science Challenge (Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) as part of project Phosphorus Best Practice

History

Publication date

2024-03-15

Language

  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No

Journal title

Nature Food

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