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The apparent 'modest' side of ye olde fertiliser

The apparent 'modest' side of ye olde fertiliser

Fertiliser’s not good for the environment? Pssh. Well, it’s not exactly as bad as we all make it out to be. That’s according to the latest edition of Fertiliser Matters, the newsletter published by the New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturer’s Research Association (NZMRA). 

Championing the “modest impact” fertiliser has on climate change, the NZMRA quotes International Fertiliser Association data and analysis which it says shows: 

  • Fertilisers contribute to almost half of global food production yet contribute to less than 3 percent percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Agriculture emissions make up about 12 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Emissions from deforestation and land use change ‘equal or exceed’ those for agricultural. 
  • And, according to Fert Research’s technical director Dr Philip Mladenov, the use of fertilisers will help produce greater output from land, thus helping meet the world’s growing population needs for food. 

    As it stands, between 70 percent and 80 percent of agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions, such as nitrous oxide, come from the production and use of nitrogen fertilisers. 

    Aside from its impact on greenhouse gas levels, fertiliser also has negative environmental effects as runoff in rivers and lakes.