The main goal of the event (September 17, 2020) was to open the discussion about the applicability of alternative fertilizers which in this case was extracted from calves manure (ID: 591), pig’s manure (ID:593) and other kinds of fertilizers in this region.
The main questions farmers had considering the use of these fertilizers where: ‘What nutrients do these fertilizers specifically contain and for which crop is it therefore best to use?’, ‘How do you apply these fertilizers in a manner which gives the least emissions and the most efficient use of nutrients by the plant?’ and ‘How does everyone apply their alternative fertilizers right now?’.
Discussing the answers to one of the questions stated above, the farmers stated that they often tried to mix these kinds of fertilizers together with cattle manure and apply it on grasslands. Because when applied without dilution the high concentration of nutrients would harm the grass due to among others acid circumstances.
Also the logistics is sometimes an issue. Because often the farm which applies this fertilizer is not the one who produces it. And many farms don’t have a possibility to store the product on the farm, which means they have to transport it from the producer directly to the field. This is complicated because now the farmer cannot determine the right time for applying this fertilizer, he has to apply when producer is delivering the product. Because also his storage space is not enough to store for everyone. However there was also a farmer who had already build an extra storage compartment for storing alternative fertilizers, which as he says, is always useful in storing alternative fertilizers or even manure. Which makes him less dependent on the size of his storage when deciding what is the right time to apply manure to his land. He can now wait until the soil is ready before applying manure while at first he sometimes had to apply because storage beneath the farm would fill up during winter time.
For farmers who did not yet apply alternative fertilizers this was mainly because they were not sure it was completely sufficient to the crops’ needs. So they stated that more and elaborated measurements should be used on the fertilizers before application.
On beforehand of the discussion Rembert van Noort presented the changes in EU Fertilising Product Regulation considering fertilizers and the Potential RENURE criteria as proposed by the Joint Research Centre. And showed the group the Nutriman farmers platform and its products and technologies. Infosheets, practice abstracts and training material of the listed product and technololgy ID-nrs were discussed.
To the application question farmers asked in the beginning we got an answer at the end of the discussion when we visited the demo. We visited a grass field in which the two products Urine from calves manure by “Geamix” separation at source (ID:591) and Mineral concentrate Verhees (ID: 593) where applied in October. So the attended farmers could see the effect of the fertilizers on grass. These fertilizers where applied using a small scale innovative precision applicator.Because this fertilizer applies the fertilizer directly in the root zone this way of application has less emission which is a trigger for farmers to start using alternative fertilizers.