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Sustainable Food Guide
Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site


Click for what EU is doing about Agricultural impacts on Greenhouse Gasespop up: UK Government action on Sustainable Food & Farming

What fertilser industry says about sustainable development

British Survey of Fertiliser Practice 2008 pdf

UK SD Indicators for Agriculture 2010 show 50% drop in fertiliser use in last 20 years

 Nitrogen plays a major role...

Largely overlooked, the amount of "reactive" nitrogen (Nr) in the air has risen considerable in last 50 years. Since 1970, world population has increased by 78% and reactive nitrogen creation has increased by 120%. (More in Science article)

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, nitrous oxide in the environment has increased by 50 parts per billion. This atmospheric loading is increasing by 0.25% each year.

Farmers in UK now get more reactive nitrogen from the air (particulates and acid rain) than they used to put on their land in 1950s. Once pesticide were "bad" and fertilsers "good". Now it may be the other way round.

NOx Emissions

N2O is produced naturally in soils through the microbial processes of denitrification (during which water-soluble nitrates are converted to gaseous products, including nitrous oxide N2O). These natural emissions are increased by a variety of agricultural practices

Direct addition of nitrogen to soils:
· use of synthetic and organic fertilisers
· production of nitrogen-fixing crops
· cultivation of high organic content soils
· application of livestock manure to croplands and pasture

80% of nitrous oxide emissions globally are associated with the agricultural and waste-treatment industries, most coming from artificial fertilsers (evidence?). Livestock accounts for about 65% of human made nitrous oxides according to LEAD.

Since the UK signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, many non-biological emissions have been reduced, but nitrous emissions from agriculture are essentially unchanged.

Nitrates in water have been a concern for many years. New Nitrate Vulnerable Zones cover 70% of UK as part of implementation of Nitrates Directive

 Environmental Practice at Work
© 2010

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