Friday, March 19, 2010

Nitrogen: Narragansett Bay killer

One answer seems simple: use less fertilizer more efficiently...but it's not happening.The nitrogen runoff comes from the synthetic fertilizer applied to farm fields (and our beautiful green lawns), as well as the manure generated from the cows, pigs, chickens, humans that eat the over fertilized wheat, corn, barley, etc.
Farmers get paid by the ton, which makes yield the driving force of modern agriculture. Most agronomists agree that farmers can get the same yields without applying as much fertilizer and manure as they now do. But few farmers are willing to take that chance. Many farmers use fertilizer as a form of insurance; better to apply a little too much and get high yields than apply too little and risk yield (and profit) declines. DItto our beautiful green lawns.
One approach that URI mentions is to educate landscape gardeners to use less synthetic fertilizers and move toward organic methods that are tried and true.
Full article here from Grist Magazine by Stephanie Ogburg titled The Dark Side of Nitrogen.

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