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Agricultural use of organic amendments: A historical perspective

  • James F. Parr (a1) and Sharon B. Hornick (a1)

Abstract

Agricultural research conducted in the United States since establishment of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Land-Grant University System in 1862 has shown that regular and proper additions of organic materials are very important for maintaining the tilth, fertility, and productivity of agricultural soils, protecting them from wind and water erosion, and preventing nutrient losses by runoff and leaching. Several millennia earlier, Roman agriculturists were advocating crop rotations, green manuring, composts, legumes, farmyard manures, crop residues, wood ashes, seaweed, and sewage wastes for supplying humus and nutrients to restore or enhance soil productivity. Even earlier, Asian farmers also used these practices to maintain healthy and productive soils. Today the most serious problem in U.S. agriculture and agriculture worldwide is the widespread degradation of agricultural soils through erosion and the consequential decline in productivity. In view of how much information is available on the benefits of organic recycling on agricultural lands, one wonders why we aren't doing a better job of protecting and conserving our land resource base. We discuss strategies for using organic resources more effectively to achieve a more sustainable agriculture for the future.

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References

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Keywords

Agricultural use of organic amendments: A historical perspective

  • James F. Parr (a1) and Sharon B. Hornick (a1)

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