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Managing agriculture in the face of phosphorus scarcity

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24 June 2015, 10:45 am, Free
at New Seminar Room, Dundee and streamed live to Macaulay B Suite, Aberdeen
for scientists, staff and students
Cereal and clover mixture field (c) James Hutton Institute

In this seminar, hosted by Dr Tim George from our Ecological Sciences group, Dr Alan Richardson (CSIRO) will discuss ways of managing farming systems on phosphorus (P) deficient soils.


​The productivity of agriculture on phosphorus (P) deficient soils is improved by application of P fertilizers. P is initially applied to build and, subsequently, to maintain levels of P ‘availability’ in soil that can support optimal plant growth. However, soils accumulate P in forms that are only sparingly-available to plants. This sink for P must be covered by fertilizer applications until, over long periods, the P-sorption capacity of the soil is saturated. P inputs must also cover P export from farming systems in products. Development of farming systems that operate at lower critical levels of ‘available’ soil P would address inefficiencies associated with P accumulation in soil and will also help to reduce P losses from fertile systems where P inputs only need to equal outputs.


​Dr Alan Richardson is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Agriculture based in Canberra, Australia. His research addresses phosphorus nutrition of plants with a focus on microbial P cycling in soil and the contribution of rhizosphere processes to the transformations of P in soil and availability of P to plants. The major objective of his research is to improve the efficiency by which phosphorus is used in agricultural systems. He is Group Leader for Integrated Agriculture Systems in CSIRO and is adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.