We are delighted to anounce the publication of a new paper by members of the FAIRWAY team:

Klages, S.; Heidecke, C.; Osterburg, B.; Bailey, J.; Calciu, I.; Casey, C.; Dalgaard, T.; Frick, H.; Glavan, M.; D’Haene, K.; Hofman, G.; Leitão, I.A.; Surdyk, N.; Verloop, K.; Velthof, G. Nitrogen Surplus—A Unified Indicator for Water Pollution in Europe? Water 2020, 12, 1197.


A survey in 14 European countries revealed the limited suitability of the parameter “nitrogen surplus” as indicator for water pollution on farm level: methods as well as data and emission factors vary across countries, so that there is no unified methodology available. The comparison of locally or regionally calculated nitrogen budgets therefore needs careful interpretation. Only by using farm-specific “real” data, budgeting can be successfully applied to optimize nutrient flows and increase N efficiencies at farm level. However, this approach is more elaborate and requires centralized data processing and the careful consideration of data protection. For the implementation of EU nitrogen-related policies—notably, the Nitrates Directive—nutrient budgeting is currently ruled out as an entry point for legal requirements. In contrast, nutrient budgets are highlighted as an environment indicator by the OECD and EU institutions.

 2020 05 07 Klages et al publication
Source: own design, according to Eurostat, 2013

Figure notes: The gross nitrogen budget (GNB): (1) according to the current methodology, no reductions are made for nitrogen losses due to volatilization in stables, storages and with application to the land; (2) “manure”: total manure production by livestock (calculated by N excretion) minus manure withdrawals, plus manure import, plus change in manure stocks (Eurostat Nutrient Budgets—Methodology and Handbook; Version 1.02.; Eurostat and OECD: Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2013).


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