China is the world’s largest agricultural producer and they are dependent on nitrogen based fertilizer. Reducing the use of fertilizer to minimize the ecological impact, while reducing costs to the farmer, and still producing the greatest yield, seems like common sense. Studies have shown that China uses 30 percent of the world’s fertilizer production, over half of what other countries average in their agriculture. (Ng, N) Unfortunately many of the farmers still subscribe to outdated information that more fertilizer produces greater yield. In the process, it actually harms the soil, drying it out through a process called transpiration. Transpiration is when the pores on plant leaves open up, allowing moisture to escape. The plant draws more water, which dries the soil, which the farmer in turn must add more water in order for the plant to grow. (Ng, N) Farmers in China are spending excessively on fertilizer and water which drives up the cost of operation, but studies show that if they reduced their fertilizer use, it would not proportionately reduce their crop yield. Sometimes good information doesn’t go where it needs to go.
Ng, N. (2015, July 16). Long-term overuse of fertilisers saps China’s farmlands. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/1839188/long-term-overuse-fertilisers-saps-chinas-farmlands