Farmers use of fertilisers revolutionised by research
Friday 19th February 2016
At Paper Round, all our food waste goes to anaerobic digestion. Food is processed to produce biogas which is then captured and fed into the national grid. The remains of that process is a bio fertiliser which can then be used by farmers to grow more crops.
A five year research programme, led by WRAP, has proved that the timing and method of digestate application is critical when it comes to getting the maximum value from both crops and fertiliser. The research confirms that food-based digestate (like that resulting from anaerobic digestion) is a valuable source of nitrogen. Nitrogen forms the single most important nutrient in influencing crop growth. Furthermore, the data produced by WRAP means farmers can predict how much nitrogen their crops will need, meaning they can reduce the amount they’re using without affecting production. In the long run, this means they’ll be able to save money, time and resources.
It was found that digestate provides crops with a boost of phosphorus, potassium and sulphur which can help to maintain soil fertility. Meanwhile, the research is encouraging users to see compost use as a way of building up soil nitrogen, as opposed to a short term replacement.