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Optimisation of nutrient budget in agriculture: the Mediterranean pilot at NERM 2024


Nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) play an essential role in agriculture but the rise of the machines and the use of mineral fertilizers in the past decades have negatively affected water, air, and soil quality, as well as its biodiversity also contributing to climate change.

To optimise nutrient flows and reduce pollution without compromising food production in agriculture, the NutriBudget project will develop and implement an integrated nutrient management platform, called Nutriplatform, as a decision-support tool for farmers, advisors, policy makers and regional authorities.

The Nutriplatform will be grounded on knowledge from existing and new field-tested agronomic measures to mitigate nutrient losses from agriculture combined with cutting-edge models on nutrient budgets, data standards and indicators. Thus, a wide range of mitigation measures to shrink nutrient losses from agricultural-farming systems will be tested in 5 pilot regions (4 nutrients hotspots and 1 nutrients-deficient) distributed along 4 different climatic regions.

BETA Technological Center (UVIC-UCC) is the leader of the Mediterranean pilot located in Catalonia (Spain), where the main challenge is the soil and water pollution (mainly nitrates) due to excessive application of waste from pig farming.

Specifically, 5 mitigation measures will be tested in this pilot, which are:

  1. Precision fertilization of bio-based fertilizers and/or mineral fertilizer through multilevel data integration
  2. Advanced NH3 emissions mitigation using zeolites
  3. Dual-purpose Lemna cultivation (green manure production and alternative protein)
  4. Enhanced and optimised fertilisation with upgraded pig manure products to avoid nutrient excess in soils
  5. Deep-rooted nutrient cycling with Kernza perennial cereal to mitigate nutrient losses to soils and groundwaters

If you would like to know more about this pilot, you can go and listen to Laura Diaz (UVIC) durting the parallel session “Other BBF testing and nutrient budgets” at the NERM 2024 Conference in Brussels on 16 April, from 15h30 to 17h00.