Differences in Farm Nitrogen Indicators at Farm Level in European Case Studies

Quemada Saenz-Badillos, Miguel and Lassaletta Coto, Luis and Jensen, L.S. and Godinot, O. and Bentrup, F. and Buckley, C. and Foray, S. and Hvid, S.K. and Oenema, J. and Richards, K.G. and Haniotis, T. and Oenema, O. (2019). Differences in Farm Nitrogen Indicators at Farm Level in European Case Studies. In: "2019 International Fertilizer Society Agronomic Conference", 12/12/2019-13/12/2019, Cambridge, Reino Unido. ISBN 978-0-85310-472-8. p. 28.


Title: Differences in Farm Nitrogen Indicators at Farm Level in European Case Studies
  • Quemada Saenz-Badillos, Miguel
  • Lassaletta Coto, Luis
  • Jensen, L.S.
  • Godinot, O.
  • Bentrup, F.
  • Buckley, C.
  • Foray, S.
  • Hvid, S.K.
  • Oenema, J.
  • Richards, K.G.
  • Haniotis, T.
  • Oenema, O.
Item Type: Presentation at Congress or Conference (Article)
Event Title: 2019 International Fertilizer Society Agronomic Conference
Event Dates: 12/12/2019-13/12/2019
Event Location: Cambridge, Reino Unido
Title of Book: Proceedings of the International Fertilizer Society
Date: December 2019
ISBN: 978-0-85310-472-8
Faculty: E.T.S. de Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas (UPM)
Department: Producción Agraria
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

Full text

PDF - Requires a PDF viewer, such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB) | Preview


Nitrogen (N) budgets at the farm gate level account for all N inputs and outputs in a particular farm. Indicators derived from the N budgets are crucial for characterising farm performance, due to the important role of N in food production and environmental sustainability. However, comparisons among farm N indicators from different farms, farm types and regions require conducting systematic monitoring of N budgets following a standardised and solid approach. Because of this, the EU N Expert Panel (EUNEP) developed a guidance document to estimate N inputs and outputs at the farm gate and calculate the N indicators. In this study, the EUNEP approach was applied to 1,240 farms from various case studies in Europe, with the aim of increasing understanding of the factors that contribute to differences in N indicators at the farm level, and to derive possible target values. Farm level data were collected from six countries located in five different environmental zones in Europe: Atlantic Central (France, Ireland, The Netherlands), Atlantic North (Denmark, Germany), Continental (Germany), Mediterranean North (Spain) and Mediterranean South (Spain). The N budgets were calculated for each farm, and the data were analysed to calculate three related indicators: Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), N output and N surplus. The results show remarkable variations in N indicators across Europe. Arable farms had the lowest mean N input and N surplus and the highest mean N output and NUE, whereas livestock farms had the highest mean N input and N surplus, and the lowest mean N output and NUE. Median NUE was 61% for arable farms, 28% for dairy and 43% for pig farms. Externalisation had a large effect on animal farm N indicators, and the results highlight the need to introduce correction factors when calculating and interpreting the farm balance. After accounting for externalisation, median NUE decreased to 19% for dairy farms and 23% for pig farms. Therefore, several options were proposed to better consider feed production and manure management in N indicators calculations. Overall, the differences in NUE between farms were mainly related to differences in farm type, management (production intensity and practices) and probably also soil and climate conditions. Nitrogen indicator targets for specific farm types and linkages with agricultural or environmental policy may contribute to optimise NUE and reduce N surplus at the farm level.

Funding Projects

Government of SpainRYC-2016-20269UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
Universidad Politécnica de MadridUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecifiedPrograma Propio

More information

Item ID: 64670
DC Identifier: https://oa.upm.es/64670/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:64670
Official URL: https://fertiliser-society.org/
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 25 Nov 2020 08:15
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2020 08:15
  • Logo InvestigaM (UPM)
  • Logo GEOUP4
  • Logo Open Access
  • Open Access
  • Logo Sherpa/Romeo
    Check whether the anglo-saxon journal in which you have published an article allows you to also publish it under open access.
  • Logo Dulcinea
    Check whether the spanish journal in which you have published an article allows you to also publish it under open access.
  • Logo de Recolecta
  • Logo del Observatorio I+D+i UPM
  • Logo de OpenCourseWare UPM