The publication “Nutrient-balanced fertilization calculations – an important tool to save nutrient resources at source and to build beneficial farming” provide information about environmental pressures. A nutrient deficit (negative
value) indicates declining soil fertility, if the soil nutrient content is very low.
A nutrient surplus (positive data) indicates a risk of polluting soil, water and air. The nutrient balance is defined as the difference between the nutrient inputs entering a farming system (mainly livestock manure and fertilizers) and the nutrient outputs leaving the system (the uptake of nutrients for crop and pasture production). Inputs of nutrients are necessary in farming systems as they are critical in maintaining and raising crop and forage productivity. However, a build up of surplus nutrients in excess of immediate crop and forage needs can lead to nutrient losses, representing not only a possible cause of economic inefficiency in nutrient use by farmers, but also a source of potential harm to the environment, through water pollution or air pollution, notably ammonia or greenhouse gas emissions.
Agriculture is responsible for a large share of the leaching of nutrients to watercourses (including groundwater), lakes and finally the sea. The result of plant nutrient studies show that the specialization of farms is one main reason for the high losses of nutrients to the environment.
River Basin and Wastewater Management, Sustainable Development, Water protection in Agriculture