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Johannes Graupner

Nitrates Directive: limit values should not be weakened

IGB provides feedback on the use of Renure fertilisers
In a recent EU consultation, IGB provided a research-based assessment of the use of so-called Renure fertilisers in agriculture, which are obtained by processing and converting animal manure. In their feedback, the IGB researchers emphasise that the current nitrate limits should be strictly followed and that renure fertilisers should not benefit from any exemptions.

Photo: Franz W. auf Pixabay

The current limit value of 170 kg nitrogen per hectare should therefore be regarded as a maximum value that is only acceptable from an environmental research perspective if it is applied in areas with sufficient denitrification potential in soils and groundwater. Otherwise, nitrogen applications at this level potentially pose a major threat to aquatic ecosystems, their biodiversity, their functions and thus also their ecosystem services.

According to the researchers, the political initiative to close nutrient cycles is the right and serves legitimate agricultural and nature conservation objectives. However, increasing the total amount of nitrogen applied would run counter to these goals. Therefore, the current limits of 170 kg of nitrogen per hectare per year should not be exceeded and Renure fertilisers should not benefit from exemptions from these limits.

The IGB researchers emphasise that the adaptation of the Annex Regulations of the Nitrates Directive should not be used as a political instrument to release even more nutrients into the environment in regions with high livestock densities. Instead, efforts should be made to mitigate these nutrient hotspots and promote more sustainable agricultural practices.

The full IGB feedback can be downloaded below this text for free.

Contact person

Markus Venohr

Programme Area Speaker
Research group
River System Modelling

Jan Köhler

Head of Department (a.i.)
Research group
Photosynthesis and Growth of Phytoplankton and Macrophytes

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