Keywords: Nitrogen legislation, Netherlands arable farming, Nitrogen fertilisers, Nitrate Directive, Water Framework Directive, MINAS, ‘Farming with a Future’.
Intensive fertilisation practices in the Netherlands make it cumbersome to comply with the EU Nitrate Directive. Over the years, government has adopted increasingly strict environmental legislation, including the farm gate balance system MINAS (MINeral Accounting System) and a compulsory manure surplus contract system. The interactive research project named ‘Farming with a future’ was started in 2000 in order to assist the arable sector to comply with this legislation while maintaining its economic basis as much as possible. In the project, pilot farmers receive intensive guidance on appropriate ways to reduce their nutrient inputs and consequently nitrate leaching. The paper discusses the setting up of the project, which links commercial pilot farms to experimental farms with intensive process research. It provides results on nitrogen inputs, outputs and surpluses, as well as preliminary figures on nitrate groundwater concentrations, and ends with a short discussion on the prospects of the chosen approach.
J W A Langeveld, Plant Research International, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 16, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.
31 Pages, 6 Figures, 12 Tables, 23 References.