Nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K) underpinned the 'green revolution' in the 1970s that delivered greater crop yields - but not without environmental cost.

Our use of fertilisers has increased significantly over the last fifty years.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT Statistics Database. Website accessed on [14/12/2016]. FAO, 2016. World fertilizer trends and outlook to 2019.

But not all countries and crops utilise fertilisers in the same way.

When more fertilisers are applied than required, the excess nutrients run off and leach into waterways making them uninhabitable for fish due to eutrophication.

Some fertilisers are finite resources on our planet. Without more efficient use of these essential elements, there is a real risk that our demand could soon exceed our natural supply.

Improving soil health through non-fertiliser approaches can help enhance our second biggest carbon sink.

See also…