How Danish farmers have doubled N efficiency already & how to reach ambitious future targets

With more than 30 years of experience in regulating agriculture, Denmark has shown, that nitrogen losses to atmosphere and aquatic environment can be considerably reduced, while farmers – despite the costs – managed to increase productivity. This can mainly be assigned to a significant increase in nitrogen efficiency in both livestock and arable farming. Long term monitoring data shows that water and air quality have increased as a result of optimizing agricultural practice and regulation. However, environmental pollution still remains a concern and requires more nutrient-loss-reductions. For improved cost-efficiency, further mitigation measures are targeted to specific water bodies or habitats.

With more than 60% of the national territory being agricultural area, an intensive livestock production, shallow groundwaters and short distances to nutrient-sensitive coastal waters along > 7000 km long coastline, Denmark has for many years been facing challenges on how to facilitate competitive farming, while reducing nitrogen (N) losses to sensitive water bodies and habitats.