Agrogeology: Farming with Rocks
From the 18 elements essential for higher plants, all of them, with the exception of nitrogen, are derived from naturally occurring rocks and minerals.
Rock dusts represent an inexpensive and environmentally sound input for farmers and meet or exceed USDA NOP standards for certified organic production.
Agrogeology farming with rocks, is the study of the origins of minerals known as agrominerals and their applications. These minerals are of importance to farming and horticulture, especially with regard to soil fertility and fertilizer components. These minerals are usually essential plant nutrients. Agrogeology can also be defined as the application of geology to problems in agriculture, particularly in reference to soil productivity and health. This field is a combination of a few different fields, including geology, soil science, agronomy, and chemistry. The overall objective is to advance agricultural production by using geological resources to improve chemical and physical aspects of soil.
A common problem faced in agriculture is dealing with soils lacking in phosphorus. Phosphorus, along with nitrogen and potassium, is an important element in determining plant development and health. A high percentage of traditional fertilizers intended to mend phosphorus-deficient soils end up becoming insoluble complexes in the soil. This presents a need for constant reapplication. Rock phosphate, also known as phosphorite, can be used as a sustainable, cost-effective method to mend problems associated with plant growth.
Unlike other elements that are soluble and easily accessible, rock phosphate needs to be processed in order to make the phosphorus in them available for plant and soil intake. Currently, there are a few ways of processing rock phosphate. Microbial solubilization of rock phosphate through fungi has been found to be able to break down inorganic phosphate into soluble forms by processes that produce organic acids.