To save the Baltic Sea, sustainable organic agriculture is needed - in the whole Baltic Sea region

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1 Assoc. Prof. PhD Artur Granstedt The Biodynamic Research Institute Skilleby S Järna, Sweden Tel , Fax To save the Baltic Sea, sustainable organic agriculture is needed - in the whole Baltic Sea region Responsible authorities are closing their eyes for the real reasons of the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Specialisation within agriculture is allowed to continue, which for example involve large quantities of chemical fertiliser, various other chemical substances and purchased fodder for livestock. In the measure program that has been made, only the symptoms are attended to, and not the basic problems. The eutrophication of the Baltic Sea will lead to dead sea bottoms. When too much nitrogen and phosphorous reach the sea, the growth of free water-living organisms increase, algal blooms increase and the bladder wrack is outcompeted. When water living organisms die and are decomposed, oxygen is consumed. The oxygen-demanding life at the sea bottoms will die. Other negative effects are changes in the fish population and death of fry. The nutrient levels today are as high as ten years ago, although considerable efforts to reduce the outlet have been done. Approximately 50% of the nitrogen leakage due to anthropogenic activities originate from the agriculture. Already 1987, the environmental ministers from all countries around the Baltic Sea agreed upon a 50% reduction of outlets until Today, the ambition is lowered to 30%, and until as late as 2010! But not even that goal is possible to reach without a considerable change of agricultural practice. I have, as an invited expert, participated in two of the last agriculture meetings within HELCOM (the Helsinki Commission) with representatives from all Baltic Sea countries. There the 50%-goal is still valid - but how?. As a scientist, I claim that it is not possible to get an enduring reduction of the nutrient losses from the agriculture if not the application of nutrients to agricultural land is reduced. To only attend to the symptoms by increased winter-planted fields, catch crops etc is not enough. The excess nitrogen per hectare is today as high as 20 years ago, despite all research and extension as the government has invested in the nitrogen addition within the agriculture reached a culmination, and since then the yearly addition has been on the same level (Figure 1). Agricultural land receives three times as much nitrogen as we get back through food products. The difference becomes a loss that will affect the environment. The villain of the piece is the specialisation of the agriculture Extension, research, education and financial control mechanisms have caused a specialisation of the agriculture. Chemical fertilisers makes farming without animals possible. On the other type of specialised farms the livestock is to much concentrated.

2 On plant production farms large amounts of chemical fertiliser are required to compensate for the plant nutrients that are removed with the harvest products. Approximately 80% become animal fodder, but the plant nutrients that are sold and removed are not returned to the field. These nutrients remain on the specialised animal farms, which base their production on purchased fodder. Consequently, a surplus of manure and urine compared to the field area arise on the animal farms. The result is very large nutrient losses with run-off and emissions to the atmosphere. Accordingly, the greatest nutrient losses are emanating just from areas with high animal density, in Sweden primarily from coastal areas in the southern part of the country and on permeable soils. The problem is the same in Finland and even higher in Denmark. Also from an energy point of view, the agriculture today is at loss - it consumes more non-renewable energy then the energy value in the food crops that are produced. Every kilogram of industrially fixed nitrogen costs a kilogram of oil to produce. The losses of plant nutrients from the agriculture can be stopped radically and on long term, only if the basic causes are eliminated. Organic and biodynamic agriculture with maximum recycling of nutrients The basic concept is a self-sufficient farm - or farms in co-operation - with as many animals as the farm itself can provide with fodder. Both research and experience show that this concept is fully feasible (Figure 3). Organic and biodynamic farms with an to the crop production adapted animal management can be close to self-sufficient with plant nutrients, and the losses can be more than halved (Figure 4). Moreover, ley farming with symbiotic nitrogen fixation legumes (clover and luzern) and keeping livestock is important to secure the fertility of the soil in a long-term perspective in areas that are now dominated by cereals. How a functioning recycling organic agriculture should be formed have to be carefully studied in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany as well as in other Baltic Sea countries. A selection of 35 well-functioning organic type farms are selected, both in Sweden and in other Baltic Sea countries as model farms for a reformation of the agricultural farming system. The Nordic Council of ministers has so far given some support. In the long term, the basic causes of the high plant nutrient losses must be eliminated if it is to be possible to meet the agreed targets in all the Baltic Sea countries, which are about to introduce changes in their agricultural sectors. Otherwise, there may be an increase in the loadings from countries like Poland, where 47% of the land area is devoted to arable crops, compared with just 7% in Sweden. In Poland, in contrast to a high estimated total load of nitrogen depending of the large area, the load per capita is only a third that of Sweden or Finland. This can be attributed to a low input of nitrogen in artificial fertilizers and hence a low surplus of nitrogen per hectare, combined with what has until now been a more diverse, small-scale agricultural structure and a more diverse agricultural landscape in the main part of the country.

3 If the farms in for example the Baltic States and Poland would change towards our Swedish or the even more intensive Danish agriculture practice, then the environmental consequences would be devastating. This judgement was also done by other researchers In the finished BERNET-project (Baltic Eutrophication Regional Network) founded from EU it is concluded that the pollution of Nitrogen to the Baltic Sea should increase dramatic (50-75 %) if the agriculture in this regions should be running like the agriculture in study regions in Denmark and North Germany (BERNET; 2000). This should be the opposite effect as the goal within the HELCOM- work to minimise the pollution from agriculture by half. I have, as an invited expert, participated in two of the last agriculture meetings within HELCOM (the Helsinki Commission) with representatives from all Baltic Sea countries. So far the authorities have refused to discuss the views I have presented here. The specialisation of the agriculture is allowed to go on and the use of pesticides has in practice also been allowed to increase. Further studies on a more widespread organic and biodynamic agriculture based on recycling of nutrients have so far been prevented by those that with yesterday's values have been in control over today's needs for funds for research of the development of a more environmental friendly agriculture. It has so far been impossible to get state funds for a current, independent research about the new views on the future role of agriculture. This trend must be abandoned. And it is urgent. Artur Granstedt PhD in Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility Associate professor at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and at University of Helsinki in Finland. Director of the Institute of Biodynamic Research at the Rudolf Steiner University College in Järna, Sweden References BERNET, Eutrophication Management in the Baltic Sea Region - a Regional Approach. Theme report: Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry. Fyn county. Odense, Denmark Granstedt, A. 2000a. Increasing the efficiency of plant nutrient recycling within the agricultural system as a way of reducing the load to the environment - experience from Sweden and Finland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 1570 (2000) Granstedt, A. 2000b. Reducing the Nitrogen Load to the Baltic Sea by Increasing the Efficiency of Recycling within the Agricultural System. Experience of Ecological Agriculture in Sweden and Finland. Landbauforschung Völkenrode, Vol 3 / 4 (50) Myrbeck, Å Växtnäringsflöden och -balanser på gårdar med olika driftsinriktningar - En studie av 1300 svenska gårdar. Department of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Uppsala. Bulletins from the Division of Soil Management No. 30. (In Swedish with English summary: Nutrient flows and balances in different farming systems - A study of 1300 Swedish farms.)

4 Figure 1. Inputs of fertilizer nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (kg ha-1 yr-1) and outputs of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (kg ha-1) in the form of animal- and plantbased food products (a) in 1995 in Swedish agriculture and (b) in 1993 in Finnish agriculture. Data for the period and for Sweden and Finland, respectively (Granstedt 2000). Figure 2. Surplus of nitrogen in kg/ha on organic dairy farms with 0.74 a.u./ha (average of 41 farms), conventional farms in Sweden with 0.6 a.u./ha (average of about farms) and conventional dairy farms (average of 557 farms). Revised from Myrbeck 1999 and Granstedt 2000.

5 Figure 3. Principles of recycling organic agriculture with balance between crop (in crop rotation with nitrogen fixation legumes) and animal production, self sufficiency with fodder and manure (the agricultural organism).

6 Figure 4. Plant nutrient (N, P and K) flows, in kg ha-1, on arable land in the Swedish community-agricultural ecosystem in 1995 and in a scenario for 2010 with halved losses of nitrogen resulting from increased integration of crop and animal production. (Granstedt, 2000). Baltic Sea Sub-regions with positions of the selected 35 organic and biodynamic pilot farms in the project BERA (Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture). Co-

7 ordination Artur Granstedt, The Biodynamic Research Institute, Järna Sweden. Stiftelsen Biodynamiska Forskningsinstitutet (SBFI), Rudolf Steinerhögskolan Skilleby gård, SE Järna, Tel , Fax ,

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