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Article

Measuring On-Farm Phosphorus Fertiliser Use—Lessons Learned from Surveying Data of Five Regions in Northern Germany

1
Crop Health Group, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, D-18059 Rostock, Germany
2
Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Arno Rosemarin
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2123; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112123
Received: 27 August 2021 / Revised: 15 October 2021 / Accepted: 18 October 2021 / Published: 22 October 2021
Phosphorus (P) is essential for agriculture; however, local P surpluses can have adverse environmental effects, such as eutrophication. Optimal P fertiliser use, therefore, means balancing these effects. Although P fluxes from soil to plants are key research areas, little is known about on-farm use of P fertilisers. As, typically, not all fields or crops are treated with P annually, the transferability of measurements for other nutrients, such as nitrogen, appears limited. This study aims to close this knowledge gap. On-farm P use was described using the farm records of 50 farms in five regions of northern Germany for the period of 2010 to 2018. All sources for P fertilisation were taken into account as either P mineral, P organic or P total. Two indicators for on-farm P use were suggested: frequency, which gives the percentage of the treated area, and amount, which gives the quantity used per ha of the treated area. The frequency for P total ranged from 55.9% to 93.1% of the total farm area being fertilised. Amounts between 24.8 and 41.6 kg ha−1 P total were applied on the treated area of the farm. The results supported the separation of the quantity and frequency in on-farm P use. No decrease in P use was found during the period investigated. Using mixed models, the results further show that explanatory variables, including the farm characteristics and crop choice, explain the substantial variations in P use. It is recommended for the example of Germany to establish an official digital database for P fertilisers that can be updated professionally and is mandatory for all documentation on P use. View Full-Text
Keywords: on-farm records; arable farming; phosphorus fertiliser indicator; fertiliser use on-farm records; arable farming; phosphorus fertiliser indicator; fertiliser use
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MDPI and ACS Style

Winklhofer, P.; Andert, S.; Hüttel, S.; Gerowitt, B. Measuring On-Farm Phosphorus Fertiliser Use—Lessons Learned from Surveying Data of Five Regions in Northern Germany. Agronomy 2021, 11, 2123. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112123

AMA Style

Winklhofer P, Andert S, Hüttel S, Gerowitt B. Measuring On-Farm Phosphorus Fertiliser Use—Lessons Learned from Surveying Data of Five Regions in Northern Germany. Agronomy. 2021; 11(11):2123. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112123

Chicago/Turabian Style

Winklhofer, Paul, Sabine Andert, Silke Hüttel, and Bärbel Gerowitt. 2021. "Measuring On-Farm Phosphorus Fertiliser Use—Lessons Learned from Surveying Data of Five Regions in Northern Germany" Agronomy 11, no. 11: 2123. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112123

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