Phosphorus was discovered in error hundreds of years ago by Hennig Brand, a German who was looking for gold at the time. What Brand possibly did not realise was just how important his accidental discovery would become.
Phosphorus is vital for healthy crops and farmland. Over the years, self-sufficient farmers harvested their crops for their own cattle and used the manure from their animals to put back into the soil. Due to a growing population and evolving farming methods, farmers subsequently started producing more crops to sell, with fertilisers developed as a result.
Most fertilisers use phosphate; however, phosphate rock is difficult to mine and process. Due to increasing demand, the supply of phosphate is running out at a rapid rate.
The phosphate shortage is leading to a demand for crops that use phosphorus more efficiently; what’s more, there is a focus on better absorption. Crop breeders are constantly looking for plants that grow well in soil with low phosphorus levels and developing these for the agricultural industry.
Farmers and crop breeders are also experimenting with crop rotation and looking at which crops grow best in different types of soil. Getting the best conditions will deliver the best results from the crop, which will help farmers with better crop rotation and planning.
Having healthy soil is crucial. Companies such as https://soilfix.co.uk/services/groundwater-soil-remediation-services that offer a soil remediation service can help landowners to remove polluted soil and contaminated water from their land to protect both their crops and the environment.
Several states in the US are looking at introducing new policies to encourage farmers to create healthier soil that can benefit both the environment and the farmers.
Some soils contain friendly fungus that provides soil nutrients. Scientists are looking at ways to encourage the growth and spread of these into farming land.
The life of a phosphorus module usually starts in either Europe or Africa. Once it is developed into fertiliser, it is then sent to farmland and used to help grow healthy crops; from there, the crops are harvested and manufactured into food, which is then consumed and ends up as human waste. Scientists are keen to develop economical ways to recycle phosphorous that will benefit both the environment and the farming industry in the future.