This global map of manure could help save farming as we know

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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The researchers hope their map will encourage countries, including India, Brazil, China, and the United States (which together use 66% of the world’s phosphorus fertilizer), to support phosphorus recycling. Not only would more recycling reduce imports, but it would also help the environment by eliminating manure—and its phosphorus—from the water supply. It could also put a few more years on our phosphorus clock. By Rachel CrowellMay. 7, 2019 , 12:30 PM This global map of manure could help save farming as we know it To grow the world’s wheat, corn, and beans, farmers need phosphorus—an essential nutrient that comes from bird and bat droppings and rock deposits. But the global supply of easily mineable phosphorus is dwindling; to stave off the coming drought, scientists are exploring an alternative: recycling animal manure for its phosphorus content. Now, they’ve come up with the world’s first map of this underappreciated resource, which shows that most manure is exactly where farmers need it—in their own backyards.To make their map (above), researchers used data on livestock density and calculated the annual amount of phosphorus excreted by cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, and goats globally—as much as a whopping 130,000 kilograms per square kilometer, they report in an upcoming issue of Earth’s Future. (Various estimates put total global production between 15 million to 20 million metric tons per year.) The researchers found “hot spots,” areas in which manure-based phosphorus is a widely available, but underused, on every continent except Antarctica. Unsurprisingly, many of those hot spots are near farming communities and river deltas where agricultural runoff abounds.But reusing old phosphorus is easier said than done. To process pig and cow poo, farmers must break it down with bacteria or use special equipment to crystallize its struvite—the same phosphate mineral that makes up some kidney and bladder stones. These processes are already used by many commercial farms, which together help recycle about half the global supply of manure. But they are costly for small family farms, which supply most food in parts of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Email Stephen Powers/Washington State University Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img

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