Peak Phosphorous

Peak Phosphorous

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
I’m Tim Hammerich with your Southeast Regional Ag Report.

In crop nutrition, much has been made with problems associated with nitrogen. But it’s phosphorous that we should be concerned about, says soil scientist Dr. Jay Goos.

Goos… “Phosphorus is a natural resource and rock phosphate is not found in very many places around the world”.

One of those places is Florida, but Dr. Goos says once it leaves the state, it’s ultimate destination is not necessarily where its needed.

Goos… “Phosphorous management in the United States is a line, when it should be a circle. You can mine rock phosphate in Florida or Morocco. You could make phosphorus fertilizer out of it. You can put it on a farm in Iowa or Illinois or Indiana to grow corn and soybeans. The corn and the soybeans go to a pig farm in North Carolina, and there it sits.”

Dr. Goos anticipates concerns over peak phosphorous to turn this into more of a circular pattern in the future.

Goos.. “Peak theory, it was first done with peak oil. Peak theory says that once you've mined out, half of something in the world, the rest of human history is fighting over the next half. And so, when are we going to reach peak phosphorus?”

We don’t know when we’ll reach peak phosphorus, but Dr. Goos says incorporating more animal agriculture closer to our crops will be important for creating more circular nutrient cycles.

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