Plot-Level Nutrient Flows

Indicate Nährstoffflüsse

This project develops indicators to describe nutrient flows at plot, farm and regional level. The tool serves to simplify nutrient management and helps with the planning and documentation of targeted fertiliser application according to best practice.


In order to receive direct payments, farmers must show, with the help of the Suisse-Bilanz farm-level nutrient balancing method, that nutrient availability and demand for phosphorus and nitrogen are in balance. However, the Suisse-Bilanz does not allow us to depict nutrient flows transparently or view the application of fertiliser at plot- and site level. Thus, despite Suisse-Bilanz, plots close to the farmyard are often more heavily slurried than distant plots. Gaps can also be seen at regional or national level: despite mostly in-balance nutrient levels according to Suisse-Bilanz, raised nitrate levels occur in ground- and surface waters in some places. This suggests that in its current form, Suisse-Bilanz is not a suitable management tool for reducing nutrient surpluses from agriculture.


The aim is to use digital technologies to establish a practical nutrient-management approach that enables plot-by-plot, needs-focused fertilisation, avoids surpluses, and preserves soil fertility. To this end, whole-farm nutrient flows and cycles are depicted. Plots used to grow arable crops and fodder as well as the farmyard manures used are examined, balanced at plot level, and ultimately amalgamated into an overall balance of all managed land. Indicators for the nutrient flows are developed that can be used at farm as well as at regional and national level.

Original Title

Parzellengenaue Nährstoffflüsse [= Plot-by-Plot Nutrient Flows]