The main goal of the event (December 17, 2020) was to open the discussion about the applicability of alternative fertilizers which in this case was the mineral concentrate (ID:520), Urine from pig manure (ID:322), ammonium nitrate (ID:295) and several other kinds of fertilizers used in this region.
The main questions farmers had considering the use of these fertilizers where: ‘Whether any farmer had experience with application of a sulphate containing alternative fertilizer in sugar beets?’, ‘When is the right time to apply alternative fertilizers?’, ‘Is there an alternative for mineral concentrate because potassium levels in my soil are rising?’ and ‘Is it sufficient to bring alternative fertilizers to grasslands and bring all your manure to arable land? What is the effect on organic matter?’
Discussing the answers to one of the questions stated above, the farmer who wanted to apply a sulphate containing alternative fertilizer was advised to try an ammonium sulphate fertilizer. Which was also discussed about in one of the previous groups. Furthermore he asked a question about the application of manure in grains, whether anyone had experience. One of the contract workers who took part in the discussion explained they were using a new machine in grasslands for applying manure and in foreign countries it was also used to apply manure in grains. So they might be trying this machine next year (link machine video nog invoegen).
An arable farmer is trying to see if alternative fertilizers is an option to apply in his company, therefore he was wondering when these can be applied. For example with potato’s if you mix the alternative fertilizers with the manure, wouldn’t the mineralisation of the applied fertilizer come to early? Meaning before the potato needs the nutrients. The best option according to the group was the application of the alternativer fertilizer later in the year with a small precision machine.
Next was a farmer who already used mineral concentrate for a few years. He took new soil samples this year and noticed that his potassium levels in his soil where rising. So he wondered whether there was an alternative for mineral concentrate. Ammonium sulphate would be a good replacer in the spring. Because of the sulphate which is much needed at sandy soils at that time. There was also recommended to visit the farmers platform and see whether there was a alternative fertilizer with less potassium for him. For practical tools for application we showed him the training material as an example.
Lastly there was a farmer who kept mostly the liquid fraction of manure at his farm, after separating manure. This liquid fraction of cow manure he then used to fertilize his grasslands. To which another farmer questioned whether this was a good idea considering organic matter.
Other questions asked that were not completely answered yet were; is halfway February the right time to fertilize land using mineral concentrate? Considering the chance of rain and possibility of washout. The group however discussed this possibility would be greater when using fertilizer because this is not organic. Mineral concentrate being a product which has a origin from organic products might be able to draw together with other components in the soil. Lastly there was a question about diseases, whether the use of manure could be a risk for animal health. In Wageningen UR there have been conducted several researches and none of them found a great risk. However you cannot exclude the possibility because in for example mineral concentrate the product is not heated so bacteria or viruses could survive.
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.