Manure Standards report on national nutrient balances in the Baltic Sea region analyses nutrient balances for the region’s countries based on different calculation methods, compares them, and gives recommendations which method should be used in all Baltic Sea region countries.
The calculation of nutrient balances has been used as an environmental indicator for agriculture for many years. Particularly, nitrogen balances/surpluses have been established as one of the few generally accepted key indicators for the documentation and analysis of the sustainability of agricultural production.
However, different approaches of calculating nutrient balances can lead to different results due to differences in methods and data. This must be considered when comparing countries. One objective of the Manure Standards project has been to calculate nutrient balances for the participating Baltic Sea countries based on different methods, to compare them, to identify the differences and, based on that, to give recommendation which method should be used in all Baltic Sea countries.
Only results based on the same method should be compared.
The results reveal differences in the level of the nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses (or deficits) for each country depending on the method used. This highlights the importance of considering different material system boundaries when comparing nutrient balances across countries. Only results based on the same method should be compared. However, calculations also show that even the recalculation of different approaches to a comparable material system boundary can lead to different results due to differences in the data and coefficients used.
Overall, the results identified livestock manure production as one of the major sources of nutrient inputs. Thus, improving the precision of manure use offers a high potential for getting to a more effective nutrient management strategy in the BSR and is a key issue to instantly reduce nutrient inflow into the Baltic Sea.
Read the report by clicking the picture.