Pee, Pooh, and the Phosphorous Fertilizer Crisis

I have been reading an interesting article in a recent edition of the ‘New Scientist’ magazine. 28/2/23, P17. No. 3423.

Some genius has come up with an astonishingly new idea to solve the worlds fertiliser shortage crisis.

You can use human and animal faeces as fertiliser!!!  Who’d have thought!  Amazing!

And it’s safe.

It is apparently being used in some 3rd world countries at this very moment.  🙂

Just in case you hadn’t realised. We (Australians) pump all our precious phosphorous and nitrogen out to sea. No one ever thought that we would ever run out of anything.

After-all, it’s only shit isn’t it.  Well, It seems that we have, or are, running out of lots of things. The days of plenty are coming to an end, or have ended. We have to take account.

Now ’super’ (super phosphate) is in short supply and crop yields are dropping. International shipping is in dis-array. So many shortages, and we are still pumping all of our own good fertiliser out to sea. It’s going to take years to turn it all around.

A few years ago, I posted on my blog a brief review of a book called ‘Farmers of 40 Centuries’

This book is basically a review of Asian farmers use of manure and compost to keep their soils fertile for over 4,000 years of continuous agriculture.

There are no new ideas. 

It was first published in 1911. I read the facsimile re-print in the mid seventies. 

Janine and I have been using composted manures, mostly chicken manure, in our gardens and orchards for 40 years without any ill effects, that’s just 1% of the history in the above book, but we do what we can.

We pump our septic tank over flow into trenches in, around and under our fruit trees in our orchards, instead of just allowing it to seep into the lawn area.

There is a lot of good nitrogen and phosphorus in that effluent, we don’t want to see it go to waste.

I have also been re-reading ‘Famine on the Wind’, another book that I first read in the ’70’s. a history of agriculture and plant diseases, and ‘The Seed Detective’. A history of seed collecting and seed merchants. He looks back as far as Pliny the Elder for info on plants, seeds and the development of our most common vegetables. Both really interesting reads.

I don’t know where I find the time to read, but it is usually in those few minutes before going to sleep.