BE-17 :: Recycling of soil nutrients

Plant nutrients are chemical elements that are mostly absorbed by plant roots as inorganic chemicals dissolved in water. At the same time, plant nutrients are used by other forms of life and go through many biological transformations that determine when and how plants take them up. Biological materials like manure are major nutrient sources on many ""conventional"" farms, as well as organic farms, while inorganic minerals (chemical materials) like rock phosphate and lime are acceptable fertility amendments for certified organic production. Understanding soil nutrient recycling processes helps identify practical options that fit different farming systems. Understanding nutrient cycles helps all types of farmers maintain the fertility of their soils, while at the same time protecting our water resources.
In Flanders most soil nutrient recycling challenges are focused on manure.
Research questions:
Land management
How to process manure to recycle nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)? Which techniques and methods can be used to remove P (and N) from manure?
Impacts of land management
What is the impact of the manure policies and legislation (limitation of manure use on land) on N and P?
What is the relation between soil nutrients and the health value of food?
Phosphorus saturation
Sandy soils in Flanders have a high content in phosphorus.
Demand and Natural capital
What are the optimal P-levels in different soil types and for different land uses?
What is the behavior of P in sandy, loamy and clayey soils? What is the effect of the saturation in the long term? We need more data about this topic.
Which analyses and extraction methods/protocols should be used to map the P-concentrations in soil in a harmonized and proper way, and this in function of pH and soil texture?
Land management
In other regions in Europe or on a mondial scale, there is a deficit in P. How can the P in Flemish soils be recycled? Which “remediation technology” is the most suitable to reduce the amount of P in soil?
Nitrogen saturation
Natural capital
What is the link between N-deposition and biodiversity? What are possible effects in both the short and long term? We need more data .