Reducing the use of external fertilisers in organic agriculture – an update from the RELACS project
The main goal of the RELACS project is to reduce the use of contentious manures and fertilisers in organic farming. This is not an easy task as knowledge about the current use of such inputs is limited.
To counter this issue, the University of Hohenheim, the University of Copenhagen and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) performed a comprehensive farm gate nutrient budget study and qualitative interviews. They are interviewing farmers in Germany, Italy, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Switzerland and Hungary. In each of these countries, 10 to 20 farms were chosen as case studies, totalling 79 farms.
Preliminary results of this study are available for Germany, Estonia and the United Kingdom. A Delphi panel is currently in place to investigate and discuss topics such as soil fertility, use of external fertilisers in organic farming and possible use of recycled fertilisers from human waste streams. Outcomes will be published on www.relacs-project.eu later this year.
RELACS seeks to promote the development and adoption of environmentally safe and economically viable tools and technologies to reduce the use of external inputs in organic farming systems.
View over the fields in Bavaria (Germany) while taking soil samples © Marie Reimer, University of Hohenheim
Replacement of Contentious Inputs in Organic Farming Systems’ (RELACS) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773431. The information contained in this communication only reflects the author’s view.