June 13, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

“There is no scientific evidence for strict fertilizer standards in the Netherlands.”

“There is no scientific evidence for strict fertilizer standards in the Netherlands.”

Establish a fertilizer standard

On Thursday, the House of Representatives will discuss the Dutch fertilizer policy and exceptions. What does this mean? In the Netherlands, Brussels allows us to spread a certain amount of fertilizer on the ground. This has been set at 170 kg of nitrogen per hectare per year. But how did this number come about? explains Jaap Schröder, who was involved in the research when the legislation was drawn up.

“A member of the European Commission stated, at the end of the 1980s, quite incorrectly, that there was some kind of connection between high animal densities in different regions of Europe and high concentrations of nitrates in groundwater. And then this man realized that two large animals Cattle, a cow of a certain size, this is a good standard for reducing the level of nitrates, and then it was found that such a standard cow excretes 85 kilograms of nitrogen through feces and urine. This amount of 85 kilograms was doubled, resulting in the production of 170 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare. One per year. “This standard has no further proof.”

The entire Netherlands is considered a nitrate sensitive area

Schröder further explains that European Member States had to implement this in so-called nitrate-sensitive areas. The Netherlands classified the entire country as sensitive to nitrate leaching at the time, which is why the 170 kg standard applies throughout the Netherlands. The European Commission then stated that if it could be shown that some crops absorb too much nitrogen and that the soil could convert much of the nitrogen into harmless products, the exception could apply. The Netherlands enjoys this exception to this day, but is at risk of losing it.

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After the standard was created, a large-scale study was conducted in Wageningen of which Schröder was part. It was examined whether the 170 kilograms were justified in the Dutch situation. “Our conclusion was no.” Schroeder points out that the ministry then had to make a structural arrangement based on these publications, instead of the exception program once every four years. “Apparently that didn't happen.”