There are two ways a plant gets its nutrients; in solution or fed in through a closed conduit composed of the hyphae of soil fungi.
Mineral fertiliser systems are really hydroponic systems which allow nutrients to enter the plant in solution. As a way of doing things, it does work and it has served us very well.High humus soils, those with a high proportion of organic matter, work by the soil mycorrhiza feeding at one end on the organic matter in the soil and the other end either crossed the root hair wall into the plant – this is the closed conduit. This system does not leak nutrients, has less crop disease, lower cultivation energy cost AND yields more. How do we know that? Because it has been done. See “How to make on-farm composting work” published by MX Publishing.Remember this figure; one tonne of Nitrogen nutrient in a mineral fertiliser made in a modern, efficient, USA factory will typically take 21,000 kilowatt hours to make and deliver. That energy input is NOT sustainable. Using “waste” to feed crops is.
Bill Butterworth 18 November 2015