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Phosphorus status of agricultural soils in Estonia

The use of fertilizers increased in the 1960s to the 1980s in Estonia. In the 1990s, the use of mineral fertilizers dropped very sharply and availability of manure has decreased 34-fold. These changes resulted in a negative soil P balance. In most of the regions livestock density is below 0.4 LU/ha and potential manure load to agricultural land is low. In national agro-chemical soil monitoring DL-method for P-extraction was replaced with Mehlich-3 method in 2004. This complicates an evaluation of changes in the soil P status.

Results of the last agrochemical survey shows that despite of the negative P balance proportion P-deficient soils have decreased since 1980s. Soils with very high P concentrations are forming 14% of agricultural land and are mainly located in the coastal area of Northern Estonia where the risk of a P discharge into the Baltic Sea is high. At the regional scale variability bedrock and soil parent materials are determining soil P status more than adopted fertilization practices.

This report was prepared as part of Work Package 4 on Standardisation of Manure Types with Focus on Phosphorus in the project Baltic Manure.

Click here to read the report


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