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Nutrient supply to organic agriculture as governed by EU regulations and standards in six European countries

Løes, Anne-Kristin; Bünemann, Else K.; Cooper, Julia; Hörtenhuber, Stefan Josef; Magid, Jakob; Oberson, Astrid and Möller, Kurt (2016) Nutrient supply to organic agriculture as governed by EU regulations and standards in six European countries. Organic Agriculture, x, pp. 1-24. [In Press]

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Organic farming systems need to replace nutrients exported via farm products, especially phosphorus (P) which may otherwise become depleted in soil in the long term. In Europe, EU regulations for organic production are shaping the farming systems with respect to inputs of nutrients. Permitted off-farm P sources include conventional animal manure, composted or anaerobically digested organic residues, rock phosphate, and some animal residues such as meat and bone meal. The recent proposed revision of EU regulations for organic production (2014) puts less emphasis on closing nutrient cycles and instead aims at minimizing off-farm inputs, to reduce the risk of importing contaminants.
This development, which has received little attention from the organic sector so far, is explained here. The paper further explores the regulatory conditions that govern the P supply to organic agriculture in six European countries: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, and Switzerland.
Organic farmers are subject to substantial variation in standards arising from the interpretation of EU regulations into national laws, restrictions imposed by private actors such as retailers, and private standards which may be stricter than EU regulations. In several countries, the majority of organic farmers are certified by private, stricter standards. We propose that EU regulations and private standards for organic production should not limit the use of recycled fertilizers in organic farming systems, as long as means are taken to ensure the quality and safety of these inputs. Awareness of the need to close nutrient cycles may contribute to adapting regulations and private standards to support recycling of nutrients from society to organic agriculture. A better definition of the term "natural substance" in organic regulations is required.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Fertilizer, Human excreta, Organic waste, Phosphorus, Recycling, Soil amendment, Improve-P, Core Organic project
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Composting and manuring
Values, standards and certification > Evaluation of inputs
Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic II > IMPROVE-P
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil Sciences
Austria > FiBL Austria
Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Germany > University of Hohenheim > Institute of Crop Science
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen
Norway > NORSØK - Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture
UK > Univ. Newcastle
DOI:DOI 10.1007/s13165-016-0165-3
Related Links:http://www.coreorganic2.org/coreorganic2.asp
Deposited By: Løes, Anne-Kristin
ID Code:30522
Deposited On:14 Sep 2016 07:39
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 07:39
Document Language:English
Status:In Press
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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