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P Scarcity awareness at Drovers’ Cattle Network?

January 7, 2011

An interesting note:  a cattle industry magazine, Cattle Network, just posted an article calling attention to the issue of P scarcity in an article entitled “Peak Fertilizer”.  LINK The author wonders if “shortage speculation is really an attempt to raise prices artificially by instilling fear into the market”.  I can’t speak for others, but I testify for myself that I have no interest in raising fertilizer prices artificially!  Instead, I have an interest in making sure human society has a close look at this topic and takes needed measures accordingly.

The article seems to be referencing blogs and other materials preceding the 2010 IFDC report that greatly expanded estimated P reserves for Morocco. Assuming that the IFDC report is accurate, the more relevant discussion for the near-term (next 20-30 years) is not so much geological production capacity but instead is geopolitical production capacity, given uncertainties about China’s P export policies and what Morocco will decide to do.   Those uncertainties should be enough, I’d say, to continue to justify the cattle industry paying attention to P sustainability.  And indeed there is a lot of P being lost during meat production, so new ways of operating will be needed in that sector as well.   Let’s hope they continue to stay tuned in.

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