Self evaluation concerning nutrients by farmers in Poland

Nutrient runoff from agriculture is the main contributor to eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, with many projects being conducted on this subject. However, knowledge has often not reached or been put into use by the majority of farmers around the Baltic Sea. A new project, in which SLU participates, has the farmers’ own commitment and knowledge as its starting point. Eutrophication is to be reduced through advisory services and network building.

A number of EU projects with participants from countries around the Baltic Sea have produced interesting knowledge about the “best methods” for reducing nutrient runoff from agriculture. Not least of these are the EU projects Baltic Compass, Baltic Manure and Baltic Deal, which gathered experiences and knowledge from the Baltic region and built up a network of demonstration farms around the Baltic Sea. Their results is the basis of an innovative project that has been initiated by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

The project intends to test out measures that are not primarily driven by laws and ordinances. Instead the project aims to encourage farmers to take their own initiatives to reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality, based on their specific knowledge and experience of their land.

As a first step, Polish farming advisors will be trained in soil analyses, nutrient balances and the type of nutrient runoff that can be expected in particular circumstances. The advisors will then visit farmers and discuss which measures can lead to reduced pollution. Based on the knowledge of their own farms, the farmers can then focus on cheap and simple measures which can reduce nutrient runoff. The project will run for three years and will be evaluated through in-depth interviews with both farmers and advisors.

The expectations are increased levels of knowledge about the extent to which individual farmers – with the help of advisory services, training and networking can contribute to an improved water environment in the Baltic Sea Region.

In the end the knowledge will be spread to authorities and stakeholders around the Baltic and in the EU.

The project is a partnership between The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the Polish Institute of Technology and Natural Sciences, and the Polish agricultural advisory agency in Radom (CDR), Agricultural Advice Center in Gdansk (PODR), The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the companies POMInno, Gdynia, Pomerania and VATEMA AB Odensgatan 2 Stockholm.

The project is funded by BalticSea2020 with contributions from the Baltic Compact EU project.

In October, the project had educational days in Poland - read the article here.

Self evaluation

Project status

Start: 2013-03-01
End: 2016-09-01


Barbro Ulén, The Department of Soil and Environment, SLU