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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2024

Farmers' perceptions on organic fertilisers towards circularity - a case study in Sweden

Lima, Priscila de Morais; Aronsson, Helena; Strand, Line; Bjoers, Marie; Pantelopoulos, Athanasios

Abstract

Adequate treatment of organic manures and digestates from livestock production should reduce environmental impacts and provide well-defined and attractive biofertlisers for a crop production market, which can promote the closure of the nutrient cycle in agriculture. In this sense, a survey was conducted during the autumn of 2021 to investigate Swedish farmers' perspectives on organic fertilisers use. The survey consisted of an online questionnaire, which was distributed broadly in the social media, homepages, different types of networks and at course events in order to reach all types of farms. There were 22 questions focused on current use, reasons for current use and preferences for future use. The analysis of the 99 fully responded surveys, demonstrated that 43% of the respondents think that they will increase their use of organic fertilisers in the coming 5-10 years and 60% think that they will use manure digestate in different forms (both solid and liquid fractions). Soil improvement was the main reason to use organic fertilisers, but there were also preferences for organic fertilisers with fast release of nutrients. The risk of soil compaction was the main reason not to use organic fertilisers and based on the responses, pellets and granulates seem to be more interesting than liquids and solids in general. Animal manures dominate the current use of organic fertilisers in Sweden however, other types of organic waste such as digestate and digestate derived fertilisers seems appealing to Swedish farmers. In conclusion, from this survey with 62% of the respondees in crop production, we found several indications of that there is a potential for increased use of organic fertilisers in Sweden on farms with limited use today. We found an openness, a broad interest and a demand for different types of products of different forms and origin. Since this demand in the end will almost always depend on the price of products in relation to the price of mineral fertilisers, which are fluctuating, we see the need of policy incentives in order to stimulate initiatives for the development towards increased circularity of nutrients.

Keywords

Digestate; nitrogen; phosphorus; survey; Swedish farms

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil and Plant Science
2024, Volume: 74, number: 1, article number: 2290247
Publisher: TAYLOR AND FRANCIS AS