BRITAIN will run out of ale because the countryside is becoming less fertile, scientists warn.
Almost 40 per cent of arable soils are degraded — meaning they have too much clay and not enough carbon.
It could threaten supplies of wheat, barley, oats and other crops — used for beer and food such as bread.
An index has been developed to classify soil.
PhD student Jonah Prout, from Rothamsted Research, said: “Carbon is vital for the proper functioning of soil.”
The index shows for the first time 38 percent of arable soils in England and Wales have at least 13 times more clay than carbon.
This means they are rated as degraded. Those with less than eight times the amount of are regarded as very good.
As the layer of fertile topsoil thins, it gets increasingly difficult to grow crops for food and beer.
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Without altering agricultural practices, supply starts to look precarious.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation, a third of the world’s soil is now moderately to highly degraded.
Mr Prout is now planning to look at a later survey and long term experiment data to see how the index values have changed over time.
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