The article completely ignores one of the biggest problems using animal waste as fertilizer, namely the massive nutrient pollution it causes. Conventional chemical fertilization is rarely more than about 2/3 efficient, meaning that if 150 pounds of nitrogen are applied to an acre, only 100 pounds are removed with the harvested crop.
In the case of sludge, only 30% of the nitrogen is “crop available” so 500 pounds of nitrogen is applied (30% of 500 is 150) to grow the same crop. What do you suppose is the fate of the remaining 350 pounds of nitrogen? It certainly does not accumulate in the soil because farmers fertilize every crop.
Inefficient agricultural fertilization is the largest source of Chesapeake Bay nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, and sludge is the least efficient of all “fertilizers.” Obviously, Clarke County Officials are more concerned with “free fertilizer” for a very few farmers than they are for water quality improvements in Chesapeake Bay.
Dr. Lynton S. Land