SLU news

Future shortage of organic fertilizers

Published: 13 March 2013

Organic farms with no or limited animal husbandry often need to purchase fertilizers. Besides the purchase of manure from neighbours, a variety of products are available on the market. For example, bio-fertilizers (digestate from biogas plants) and fertilizers based on by-products from animal production. Products certified by KRAV are today only available on few places in the country.

Per Ståhl, advisor at the Rural Economy and Agricultural Society in Vreta Kloster, outlined the availability, nutrient effects and pricing for various alternatives and highlighted the problem of the limited availability of several products and the significantly increased costs. There is a growing competition on the available organic fertilizers! Many organic crop farms are today vulnerable to these changes and it is important that we look forward on how to secure nutrient supply. New plant nutrient sources and products are needed.

At the seminar, among other things, the potential and usefulness of bio-fertilizer in organic production were discussed. The digestate can be an important part of the solution, but much work needs to be done to get more biogas plants certified. There are also problems such as high driving costs and risk for soil compaction when, the often diluted, digestate is used.