Biostimulants are an environmentally conscious alternative and have applications both in developing rustic or agricultural lands, such as commercial farms, and on smaller-scale gardens or allotments.
When it comes to food production, the public are increasingly looking to farmers and growers to produce more food using less agrichemicals. Some European countries, such as Holland, are being mandated by their governments to cut their use of chemicals in food production by 50%.
Farming and food production are an essential part of our economy and general consumption. In terms of agricultural productivity, the economic contribution of farming and food production remains healthy and growing, according to ongoing governmental reports. Outside of economic influence, small or larger scale agriculture—from family run farms to commercial operations—have wider effects on our lifestyles.
However, in a bid to yield productive harvests, agricultural practices can have negative side-effects on the environment. The use of fertilisers, pesticides and other synthetic, non-natural and chemical-based products can be incredibly destructive in terms of the biodiversity of an area. Whether on a large-scale farm or your own garden, the unintentional (or indeed intentional) use of synthetic, chemical-based gardening solutions can damage the environment as much as your own land. Synthetics contribute to the urgent problem of nitrogen pollution and add chemicals into the food system that may be detrimental to human health.
Every crop or plant such as wheat, corn or barley has a theoretical potential yield built into its genetic makeup. This theoretical potential has never been achieved, but we know it can be strived for.
Over the decades, farmers have successfully increased yield to meet the food supply demand to feed large parts of the world. Since the second world war and up to the 1970s, most of the gain in yield has come from plant protection products (PPP), which include fungicides and insecticides. Since the 70s, the current yields have come from improved nutrition, increased use of fertilisers and better breeding of different crop varieties. The next major challenge for farmers and growers will come from abiotic stresses, which arise from drought, heat, inundations, salt and too much UV radiation. Overall, these are stresses due to weather changes and possibly climate change.