The amendment to the German Fertilizer Ordinance was adopted at a special meeting of the Federal Council on March 27, 2020. With the introduction of the fertiliser package, especially livestock farms have to adapt. The further tightening of the fertiliser ordinance requires farmers to rethink.
A central component of the amendment is the introduction of a nationwide regulated and binding scheme for determining fertilisation requirements for nitrogen on arable land and grassland. N requirement values linked to an average yield are taken into account as the basis for the determination.
In the future, phosphorus will also have to be balanced according to certain criteria and at the same time the permitted overhangs from the previous 20 kg / hectare to 10 kg / hectare will be reduced over a six-year average. In the future, no overhang will be permitted on highly supplied areas with more than 20 mg / 100 g P2O5 soil (CAL). This will be an important issue in animal-intensive regions, where many fields are in the oversupplied area. To deal with this problem, many farms will have to count on the export of manure.
Another serious innovation facing the farmer is a change in the way nutrient flows will be viewed in the future. Currently, the nutrient comparison shows a balance of nutrients at the field-stable level. With the introduction of the so-called material flow balance the nutrient flows are also considered at farm level.
Impacts on recycling- derived fertilizers
The period of prohibition for spreading solid manure of hoof and clawed animals and compost was extended from 4 to 6 weeks (1 December - 15 January). So far, the regulation of the closed period only referred to fertilizers with a significant nitrogen content (> 1.5% in dry matter), but now the phosphate content (> 0.5% in dry matter) is also used. This means that almost all composts and digestate products are affected by the stricter blocking period regulation. Up to now, the application of compost on deep-frozen soils has been possible under certain conditions. In the version that has now been approved by the Federal Council, all conditions and exceptions have been deleted, so that application to frozen soil is no longer possible even for compost.
The requirements in nitrate-polluted areas have also been tightened up and will apply from 1.1.2021. For example, the "170 kg N regulation" is not based on the farm average but on the individual field. This area reference also applies to composts, which are usually applied with higher nitrogen quantities every three years. The blocking period for manure from hoof and clawed animals and compost will be extended to 3 months in polluted areas throughout the country.
Digestate, whether of plant or animal origin, falls under the 170 kg N / hectare rule. This further increases the pressure on the land. For regions with a high density of biogas plants, this will have massive consequences.
Further amendments to the fertilizer ordinance at federal level
In addition to the generally applicable changes at federal level, the new fertiliser ordinance gives the federal states the opportunity to make further adjustments at state level. It remains to be seen to what extent the federal states will make use of this catalogue of measures.