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The future EU fertilising products regulation and organic fertilizers could save the lives of millions of cows and improve the environment

January 16, 2017 by Lili Chatzikonstantinou

Recent media reports claim that a half million Dutch dairy cows could be culled this year because of the excess manure they produce. But this meaningless waste could be prevented if there were a single European market for organic fertilizers.

Organic fertilizers use manures and other food chain by-products to make fertilizers that provide plant nutrients and carbon which improves soil fertility. Because they contain much less water than unprocessed manure, organic fertilizers are more economical to transport over long distances – and are thus a key tool to help resolve situations like the current Dutch problem with cow manure.

But today, the lack of European rules for organic fertilizers makes it extremely difficult for such products to cross national boundaries. So countries like the Netherlands are overwhelmed with manures while other regions suffer from poor soil quality. The market could help address these problems if appropriate European Union regulation unleashed its power. The draft fertilising products regulation currently under consideration by the European Parliament could make such an EU market a reality and contribute to reducing environmental in areas struggling to manage excess manures.

ECOFI will explain the positive role that organic fertilizers and organo-mineral fertilizers can make to nutrient recovery and efficiency at an event hosted by the Netherlands Nutrient Platform, the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform and Jan Huitema, Dutch Member of the European Parliament, on 25 January 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels.