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Synthetic Fertilizers in Modern Agriculture

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on 3 June 2014

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Transcript of Synthetic Fertilizers in Modern Agriculture

Synthetic Fertilizers & Modern Agriculture
Modern Agriculture
Synthetic Fertilizers
Environmental Hazards
Alternative Farming Practices
Pros
Easy to apply
Cheap
Odorless
Precise amounts of nutrients
Quickly produces abundant yield
Controls population of pests
Not limited to seasons
Cons
•Leeching
• Groundwater contamination
• Algal blooms
• Non biodegradable
• Air pollutants
• Destruction of the ozone layer,
• Global warming
More Cons
• Disrupt nitrogen and carbon cycle
• Dependence on synthetic fertilizers
• Make soils susceptible to erosion
• Methaemoglobinemia, gastric, bladder and oesophageal cancers
• Over fertilization
• Mainly consist of non-renewable resources
BEFORE
Canadian Examples
Crop yields in agricultural systems depended on:
native resources
recycling of organic matter
rainfall patterns
=
stable yields
Manufactured using chemical processes
Need to mix it well
PRESENT
nitrogen
phosphorus
potassium
mineral salts
Combined of:
Less farmers, more farming, more food, more profit
Speeds up growth of plants, so economy grows faster
cheap
Economy
Thanks to the introduction of crop mechanisms, agrochemicals (to fertilize crops) and revolutionized technology, there has been more human intervention and increased energy levels and a shift towards monocultures.
Irrigation
Pesticides/Fertilizers
MONOCULTURES:
The cultivation of a single crop in a given area.
Thank You, and Study! :)
Machinery
Why Monocultures?
Natural Ecosystem:
A closed, unmanaged ecosystem. Ex: a coral reef
Agroecosystem:
An open managed ecosystem, which requires human interference, lower biodiversity and more uniform abiotic features. Ex. a cash crop field
Modern Agriculture manipulates natural ecosystems into this
Economy is rewarded (maximized profits) because monocultures can supply the increasing demand
Why Not Monocultures?
The extraction of nutrients make the soil dry = more fertilizers = crop dependence
Pests have more time to establish = more pesticides = damage to environment
As specific crops are put in unnatural ranges, intensified chemical control is needed to overcome limiting factors
Some types of alternate farming practices are:
Crop Rotation
Crop Diversity
No-tillage Farming
Attracting Beneficial Animals
Management of Water
What is it?
Synthetic fertilizers were nitrogen fertilizers, composed of mainly NH3.
Created after the Haber-Bosch process -> a process of combining nitrogen and hydorogen
After WWII, huge amounts of NH3 left -> so it became use for agriculture
History
Alternate agriculture means ________________________________________________________________________


Crop rotation
- yearly crops are rotated
->crops planted the next year will
receive the nutrients from the decomposed crops left on the ground.
No-tillage farming
- the stubble of the crops are left on the ground to decompose --> nutrients are retained, reduces water loss, and
improves soil quality

Canadian agriculture and food industries have changed greatly since WW2 by revolutionary processes and technology
Increased reliance on synthetic fertilizers led to the organic movement in Canada in the 1930s/40s
Land mainly used for _______ purposes
Humans obtain little/a lot of their food from natural ecosystems
__________ is compromised
There is a(n) _____ in farms b/c of faster food processes, resulting in _____ food in markets, therefore _____profit for farmers
List some Cons!
1.
2.
3.
Parties Affected
Farmers:
Two Main Alternate Agricultural Practices
Plants cultivated to produce higher yields tend to have less energy for other activities like growing deep roots and generating phytochemicals.
- want cheaper inventory and raw materials
- want to produce food faster
- want to produce more crops
- want higher income
- overall: in favour of synthetic fertilizers
Consumers:
- cause the high demand
- want to stay healthy
- many arguments: some want high quality food which is harder to grow and less is produced while others want more food because they want more appealing food and realize the demand and want to fight worldwide starvation
- not everyone is ok with spending more money for something that would be better for them.
Environmentalists:
- definitely against synthetic fertilizers
- want to preserve natural ecosystems
Governments:
- decide what to invest in
- make laws that govern synthetic fertilizers
- impose limitations
Despite the increased levels of farm residue (manure), it is becoming difficult to recycle nutrients, even within agricultural systems
Even as modern intensive farming systems and practices have been very productive, economic, social and environmental conflicts ensue.
Handling of primary agriculture is a major Canadian industry
DDT is a harmful pesticide that was sprayed over croplands that eventually leeched into bodies of water, which was then consumed by animals, such as peregrine falcons.
The DDT weakened North American populations with their interference of the calcium metabolism and the female bird's ability to produce strong eggshells.
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