Integrating new bio-based fertilisers with mineral fertilisers to meet crop and soil nutrient requirements: challenges and opportunities
The use of conventional nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) mineral fertilisers along with advances in plant breeding, pest, weed and disease control has underpinned growth in agricultural productivity over the past century. At an EU level a decline in the reliance on conventional mineral fertilisers and a growing focus on bioeconomy opportunities such as the recovery and recycling of nutrients to produce renewable bio-fertilisers is envisaged as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy. The recycling of nutrients from organic sources has been a feature of agriculture for generations particularly where animal and crop agriculture are geographically in close proximity making transport of low nutrient density materials feasible. However, concentration of animal agriculture and human populations in recent decades has led to pronounced regional imbalances in nutrient distribution. Recapture and concentration of these nutrients for transport and integration into fertiliser programmes presents a host of challenges but also opportunities.
At Teagasc, as part of the EU INTEREG funded ReNu2Farm and H2020 funded Nutri2Cycle projects, we are developing the solutions and knowledge needed for successful integration of new bio-based fertilisers along with organic manures and conventional mineral fertiliser in arable and grassland fertiliser programmes. Insights from this on-going work including mineral N and P replacement values of new bio-based fertilisers and their performance in fertiliser programmes will be shared in the forthcoming presentation.