The world is about to run out of Phosphorus

Farming is a generational practice; farms and livestock inherited from parents are passed on to the next generation after 30-odd years of agricultural and genetic improvement. Farmers of the past took a long-term view on the consequences of their actions. However, as the fast-food philosophy has leached up the supply chain, farmers are increasingly engrossed in the immediate benefits and quick fixes available to them.

In this week’s video, Mohamed Hijri takes a look beyond the short-term concerns of today’s farmer to one of the biggest crises our children will face: the loss of a completely irreplaceable resource – phosphorus. Be warned that the talk is subtitled (Mohammed is from French Canada), however it is very informative and worth the watch.

A Simple Solution to the Coming Phospohorus Crisis – Mohamed Hijri

Summary & key points

  • Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all life. Phosphorus cannot be manufactured or substituted.
  • There will be an estimated 9 billion people on Earth in less than 40 years. At the current rate, phosphorus will peak in 20 years, and will be completely depleted by the end of the century
  • On average, plants are utilising only 15% of phosphorus which is applied to the soil, the rest is lost into waterways or bound within the soil. To put this into dollar terms, if your annual fertiliser budget is $30,000 then $25,500 of that is being leached or lost.
  • A simple solution – Mycorrhiza is a fungi which lives within your soil when it is healthy. Studies have shown that phosphorus applied at half the rate, when applied in conjuction with Mycorrhiza, will give a better yeild than phosphorus on its own.

A shameless plug

Many of Mohammed’s points in this talk are the drivers behind our patented product, CarboPhos. Our trials have shown that CarboPhos can be applied at half the rate of SSP (therefore using half as much phosphorus), and it will still produce a better yield. This can be attributed largely to the amount of organic carbon contained within our fertiliser that facilitates an environment in which soil biology, such as Mycorrhiza, can thrive.

For the environmentally minded farmers out there, CarboPhos provides a sustainable approach to fertilising your farm. For those who are more concerned with better yields and lower cost, well it just so happens that CarboPhos will satisfy those criteria too.


Paul Copplestone

Paul is a member of The Growing Group

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