Earlier spring fertilization date – how will it work?

Elastyczny termin nawożenia

The nitrate program, which sets out rules for agricultural management in the country, taking into account the need to protect water resources from pollution by nitrogen compounds from agricultural activities, will soon come into force. It presupposes a number of changes to the provisions of the regulation hitherto regulating these issues. Among the new rules planned for implementation are provisions that change the permissible timing of fertilizer applications. This is one of the main innovations that the document implies.

Earlier spring fertilization date – earlier changes

The current regulations specify the timing of fertilizer application depending on: the type of fertilizer and the type of land, the crops on which fertilizer will be applied, taking into account regionalization (according to the division of the country into groups of municipalities). Currently, fertilizer application is possible between March 1 and November 30. Nevertheless, in 2020. Earlier start of operations was allowed for arable land with winter crops, permanent crops, perennial crops and permanent grassland. The deadline was set for February 15. The above update was due to the prevailing atmospheric conditions during the winter of 2019/2020 (high temperatures), which created the possibility, and even the necessity, to feed the crops (winter crops) for their proper development. 2020 Regulation. was an update of the previous action program (from 2018), but the changes made were temporary, requiring a more thorough analysis of the topic.

The situation described is a consequence of climate change. The agricultural sector is very much affected by this variability, so that the treatments carried out should be adapted to the prevailing conditions by introducing adaptation measures.

Earlier spring fertilization date – now

This issue was one of the main elements analyzed in 2022. As part of the review and update of the nitrate program. The scientific and research work carried out made it possible to formulate fertilization principles adapted to the variability of climatic conditions occurring in Poland. The findings were based on, among other things. o assess the impact of extending the fertilizer application period in 2020. on meeting the objectives of the Nitrates Directive and on the analysis of long-term changes in climate and concentrations of nitrogen forms in water (surface, groundwater, groundwater).

The document leaves the main assumption of fertilization from March 1 to November 30, depending on the type of fertilizer, land, crop and area of the country.

The regionalization used in the nitrate program refers to the autumn limiting dates for the application of mineral nitrogen fertilizers and natural liquid fertilizers to arable land, and divides the country’s territory into three zones in which fertilizers can be applied at the dates:

  • by October 15 – municipalities in the foothills and mountain areas of the Lower Silesian, Silesian, Lesser Poland, Subcarpathian provinces, as well as in part of the municipalities in the northeastern area of the country, in the Warmińsko-Mazurskie and Podlaskie provinces;
  • by October 20 – in part of the municipalities in the northeastern and eastern areas of the country, in the provinces of Warmia, Mazury, Podlasie, Lublin, Mazovia, Subcarpathia;
  • By October 25 – in other municipalities in the national territory.

The draft regulation implementing the updated nitrate program takes into account the lists of the aforementioned. municipalities and deviations from the established dates.

A new element of the program is the possibility of applying fertilizers before March 1, i.e. in the period from the first to the last day of February. The condition is that the average air temperature passes through the threshold:

  • 3°C for autumn-sown crops, permanent crops, perennial crops and permanent grassland;
  • 5°C for other crops.

It is to be understood as the term in which for 5 consecutive days the average daily air temperature exceeded 3°C or, respectively, the term in which for 5 consecutive days the average daily air temperature exceeded 5°C. The phenomenon should be recorded in an area representing 95% of the area of the district in question.

The procedure envisaged takes into account the need for universality of access to information, while ensuring the comparability of the results of meteorological observations and procedures for ascertaining the occurrence of conditions that would make it possible to begin land fertilization earlier.

As we learned from the Ministry of Infrastructure, information on the dates when temperatures pass the 3°C and 5°C thresholds in each county in Poland will be compiled and published by IMGW-PIB. The new service for farmers will be available on the Agrometeo website from the day the regulation takes effect.

It is worth noting that for farms located in two or more counties, the fertilization term specified for the county with the larger percentage of farm area in that county relative to the total farm area should be used.

The earlier start of fertilizer application must also take into account other provisions limiting the agricultural use of fertilizers, i.e. prohibiting the application of fertilizers on frozen, flooded, water-saturated or snow-covered soils.

All this leads to a reduction in nutrient losses that threaten water resources.

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