Wednesday, 21 September 2022 16:07

SuMaNu – Sustainable Manure and Nutrient Management for the Reduction of Nutrient Loss in the Baltic Sea Region

Written by  Let's Communicate

SuMaNu project was an Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Programme Project Platform (a cluster of multiple projects) that took place between October 2018 and September 2021. SuMaNu aimed to mitigate eutrophication of the Baltic Sea by retaining valuable nutrients in food production.

 SuMaNu combined four projects and included four approaches to the nutrient challenge:

1) BALTIC SLURRY ACIDIFICATION aimed to reduce ammonia emissions from livestock production by promoting slurry acidification technologies;

2) MANURE STANDARDS developed joint guidelines for more efficient collection and usage of manure data;

3) GREENAGRI aimed at reducing nutrient losses in the Baltic states by introducing and testing environmentally friendly management of organic fertilizers;

4) BONUS PROMISE evaluated methods to close the agricultural phosphorus cycle with a special view on contamination risks when recycling organic waste materials.

The findings of previous projects, such as Baltic Manure, Baltic Compass, and Baltic Compact, were also considered. SuMaNu analyzed and synthesized the results and recommendations of those projects to come up with the recommendations for environmentally and economically sustainable manure management policies.

The undervalued status of manure as a fertilizer, which leads to the overuse of mineral fertilizers, poses a big challenge in agriculture. Even though manure could be a valued source of nutrients and organic matter, very often it is a source of nutrient leakage harming the ecological well-being of the Baltic Sea. In the BSR, manure could, if used efficiently, replace much of the current mineral fertilizer use. According to Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), currently about 47 % of the total nitrogen load and 36 % of the total phosphorus load to the Baltic Sea originate from diffuse sources, mainly from agriculture.

The obstacles to the effective use of recycling nutrients can be many, such as geographical. Manure is not regionally or even locally evenly distributed. There are both intensive livestock production areas, where manure is produced over the phosphorus fertilization need, and crop production areas that are in need of phosphorus. The obstacles can originate from lack of data, as manure has no uniform quality and can contain varying amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus and, in turn, lead to surplus or lack of nutrients in the fields. The obstacles can also arise from missing or mismatched regulations and policies.

SuMaNu gathered and synthesized 10 years of research and development from previous projects providing policy recommendations for more sustainable manure and nutrient management. The drafts of recommendations were taken to stakeholders, i.e., ministries of agriculture and the environment of the Baltic Sea Region countries. After receiving their feedback, the finalized recommendations were presented in seminars aimed at national stakeholders as well as a seminar aimed at decision-makers at the regional and the EU level. HELCOM used the SuMaNu process and the recommendations as background information when creating HELCOM’s Regional Nutrient Recycling Strategy.

The main SuMaNu message was that the regulatory maximum limits for phosphorus fertilization and national fertilization guidelines based on crop nutrient needs and soil phosphorus status should be put in place. Farm-level nutrient balance calculations should also be implemented, and in case of surplus nutrients on farms or in regions of dense livestock production, reallocation of manure nutrients between farms and regions should be organized. Currently, most of the Baltic Sea countries are still lacking regulation of phosphorus fertilization, the basis of national fertilization varies and farm-level nutrient balance calculations are rarely used.

The following infographs show the farm-level and regional-level nutrient balancing:

SuMaNu 1                             SuMaNu 2

By presenting the policy recommendations and initiating a dialogue with the stakeholders, SuMaNu brought the topic to the national and regional agenda as well as provided background for HELCOM’s Regional Nutrient Strategy. As the EU has also addressed the nutrient challenge in the Green Deal and Farm-to-Fork Strategy, the work of SuMaNu has proved very timely and very much needed.

To find out more, see the link: SuMaNu Policy Recommendations

Read 64 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 September 2022 16:17