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Soil surpluses of nitrogen and phosphate are decreasing


In the derogation monitoring network of the Minerals Policy Monitoring Programme (LMM), Wageningen Economic Research and National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) annually monitor the water quality and agricultural practices of companies 'registered for derogation'. The derogation monitoring network is a result of the derogation from the Nitrates Directive that the Netherlands has had since 2006. Under this derogation, farms with at least 80% grass in the crop plan may, under certain conditions, use more nitrogen from grazing livestock manure than the 170 kg nitrogen per hectare prescribed by the European Nitrates Directive as a maximum. On 5 July 2021, the report 'Agricultural practice and water quality on farms registered for derogation in 2019' was presented to the House of Representatives by outgoing minister Carola Schouten, making the results publicly available. The results show that improvements in farm management have made it possible to use animal manure more efficiently to grow crops. As a result, the nitrogen soil surplus shows a declining trend over the period 2006 to 2019. After an increase in 2018 due to the drought, the nitrogen soil surplus in 2019 was the lowest of all the years studied. The phosphate soil surplus also decreased again in 2019, after an increase due to drought in 2018.

At Agrimatie.nl, these new results of the agricultural practice of companies in the derogation monitoring network have been processed in the following 7 articles:

1. Milk production (per farm, per hectare forage crop and per cow)
2. Nitrogen Fertilization
3. Phosphate Fertilization
4. Crop yields (for both grassland and silage maize)
5. Nitrogen operating surplus
6. Nitrogen soil surplus
7. Phosphate soil surplus

Composition and regions
The derogation monitoring network consists of 300 farms, of which approximately 87% are dairy farms and approximately 13% are 'other grassland farms'. The results are presented for the group of companies as a whole, but also per region. Five regions are distinguished: Sand-230, Sand-250, Clay, Peat and Loess. Legislation stipulates that a maximum of 230 kg nitrogen from grazing livestock manure per hectare may be used on sandy and loess soil in the provinces of Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, Noord-Brabant and Limburg. On other soil types and on soil located outside these 5 provinces, a maximum of 250 kg nitrogen per hectare may be used. In LMM, the Sand Region contains 230 companies located in the Sand Region in the aforementioned five provinces. The Sand-250 Region concerns the farms in the rest of the Sand Region, where up to a maximum of 250 kg nitrogen per hectare from grazing livestock manure may also be used on sand.

Additional information for this item


Phosphate use per ha

Nitrogen farm surplus per ha

Nitrogen use per ha

Phosphate soil surplus per ha

Nitrogen soil surplus per ha

Marga Hoogeveen

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