A trial by New Zealand research company Plant & Food Research confirms what many have believed for a long time: composting of household lawn, garden and food waste can provide a significant bonus to agriculture.
The trial showed that adding compost to different farming scenarios increased the production of human food crops by up to 14% and of animal feed crops by up to 50%.
The researcher is quoted as stating that “Plants need nitrogen and other nutrients to grow. These nutrients and high levels of carbon are present in compost and adding it to soil boosts production. Because it can also supply the plants with nitrogen, a reduction in nitrogen fertilizer application is also possible without compromising yields.”
Huge volumes of lawn, garden and food waste go to landfill each year in Canada. This study confirms that not only is composting good for reducing the amount of landfilled waste but it can also be good for agriculture, potentially reducing synthetic and non-renewable fertilizer use and increasing food production.
Adding municipal compost from household organic waste to agricultural land should be seen not just as a way of getting rid of waste material but of actually providing value to farmland. Municipalities that do not compost household organics are wasting valuable agricultural nutrients and contributing to avoidable environmental degradation.
The Plant & Food Research trial is reported at http://www.plantandfood.co.nz/page/news/media-release/story/reducing-rubbish-by-feeding-the-soil/