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Consumption of artificial fertilisers and pesticides

Last update of indicator 16.12.2021

Indicator definition

The indicator assesses the development of consumption of artificial fertilisers - nitrous (N), phosphorous (P205), and potassic (K20) in kilograms of pure nutrition per hectare of agricultural land as well as the development of the pesticide consumption - insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other pesticides used in agriculture.

Units

t, kg p.n./ha

Metadata

Related policy documents and targets

Principles of the State Land Policy (2001)
The Slovak Government declares that the land of the Slovak Republic is the common wealth of the citizens of the state and the heritage of future generations. It is an essential and non-renewable resource, and it forms an integral part of Earth's ecosystems. It remains a basic environmental, ecological, economic and social potential of Slovakia, and must therefore be carefully protected from damage and unjustified reduction of its area and volume.
 

Rural Development Programme of SR 2014 - 2020 (2014)
Objective: Sustainable management of natural resources and adaptation to climate changes
Priority 4: Restoring, preserving and enhancing the ecosystems that are related to agriculture and forestry
13. Ensuring the protection of land from degradation
14: Preservation of agriculture in less favourable areas and efficient use of SR land resources

 

Strategy of adaptation of SR to the adverse impacts of climate change - update (2018)
Adaptation measures in the native environment:

  • Utilising soil-protecting technologies of farming.
  • Soil-protecting minimising technologies.
  • Organic agricultural systems and application of organic fertilisers.
  • Support of increase of animal production whose deficit is detrimental to organic matter in soil.
  • Application of organic fertilisers in accordance with the law.
  • Support of integrated production and ecological agriculture measures.
  • Methods of the so-called conservation agriculture (leaving of a large amount of plant leftovers on the soil surface or maintaining a permanent plant cover by long-term crops).
Adaptation measures in the domain of agriculture.
  • Eco-friendly growing technologies.
  • Utilisation of resistant strains and utilisation of certified reproductive material.
  • Support of biological protection and integrated production.
  • Support of diversity of crops and securing of sustainable production and implementing of integrated management of pest control.
  • Decreasing of utilisation of chemicals in agriculture.
  • Support of utilisation of old regional varieties (e.g. old fruit tree varieties) locally better adapted in regards to development of landscape elements utilising non-forest tree vegetation.
  • Support of breeding and creating of seeds which will be suitable for changed climatic conditions.
  • Securing of Slovak-bred varieties - support of Slovak breeding and subsequent creating of native varieties adaptable to our climatic conditions (thermophilic and drought resistant) which will guarantee the achievement of more stable harvests.
  • Implementation of integrated methods of pest control in agriculture.

Greener Slovakia - Environmental policy strategy of the Slovak Republic until 2030 (Envirostrategy 2030) (2019)
Goal: 3.1 Promoting more eco-friendly approaches in agriculture.
Priorities:
  • Ecological agricultural production will be covering at least 13.5% of soil by 2030.
  • Especially on large agricultural areas there will be an expectation of thorough crop rotation depending on their requirements for nutrition, irrigation and root zone depth.
  • Crop diversification will prevent soil nutrition loss, its drying, and it will serve as pest control.
  • Traditional local varieties which can better adapt to the local climate conditions will be preserved and protected.
  • A stricter control of sale and use of artificial compounds in agriculture will be implemented.
  • There will be a decrease in the use of pesticides in agriculture and its continual decrease will be ensured. Such decisions will be based on expert analyses which will be consulted with concerned parties.
  • In areas vulnerable to nitrates there will be a stricter control of following of the action programme for the given areas and there will be a support measures for increasing organic matter in soil.
  • In terms of sustainable soil management there will be an increased use of fertilisation of processed and environmentally clean sewage sludge.

 

 

Objective of the Integrated Development Program I.
Population growth and qualitative development, with special emphasis on education, health, culture, the development of civil society and the rule of law, and the conservation and sustainable management and development of natural resources.
I.5 Ensure effective and sustainable management of natural resources
  • Ensure the protection, restoration and improvement of natural resources, including ensuring the stability and health of ecosystems and their services and mainstreaming adaptation and mitigation measures to the adverse effects of climate change into all departmental strategic documents and municipal and regional development documents as an overriding public interest (e.g. in transport planning, energy, spatial planning, water management, agriculture, forestry, sustainable tourism, overall landscape care, etc.).
  • Define the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants into the environment and the avoidance of degradation of strategic natural resources (water, forests and soil) as a public interest.
  • Reduce the acidification of agricultural soils by ameliorative liming or promote basic agrochemical and agrotechnical measures to improve overall soil quality parameters with a view to better utilisation of nutrients from fertilisers.
  • Increase the area of land with organic farming to 16%, an ambitious increase compared to the current long-standing level (10%), thus moving closer to the ambitions set out in the EU strategies.

 

Action plan for the implementation of the Slovak Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2021)

Main objective:

To increase Slovakia's preparedness for the adverse effects of climate change through the implementation of cross-cutting and specific adaptation measures and tasks.

Specific objective 2 - Sustainable agriculture:

Increase the adaptive capacity of agricultural landscape management by applying measures aimed at protecting soil, natural resources and promoting the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes and promoting sustainable crop and livestock production.

Specific measures:

  • Support for soil protection measures
  • Adaptation of crop production to changed climatic conditions
  • Adaptation of livestock production to changed climatic conditions

Key question

Is the volume of agrochemicals used in agriculture decreasing?

Key messages

  • With the post-1989 changes in the agricultural sector (land restitution, price increases, reduced intensification, legislative measures), there has been a significant decline in the consumption of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture.
  • Between 2005 and 2020, there was a 66.9% increase in the consumption of nitrogen fertilisers, a 62% increase in the consumption of phosphate fertilisers and a 20.8% increase in the consumption of potassium fertilisers. In 2020, total fertiliser consumption was 103.4 kg of pure nutrients (p.n.) per hectare of agricultural land, which was 0.6 kg p.n./ha more than in the previous year. Between 2015 and 2020, the consumption of fertilisers had an increasing trend with minor variations.
  • For each group of pesticides, there has been an increase in consumption compared to 2005-2020. In 2020, a total of 5,421.5 t of plant protection products were applied in agriculture, of which approximately 2,741.9 t were herbicides, 1,245 t fungicides, 378 t insecticides and 1,056.6 t were other products. Pesticide consumption in 2020 saw a year-on-year decline.
Change since 2005 Change since 2005 Last year-on-year change
emo_sad emo_sad emo_neutral

There has been an increase in the consumption of fertilisers and pesticides.

Since 2015, the consumption of fertilisers and pesticides has shown a steady, slightly increasing trend.

There was a slight year-on-year increase in the consumption of fertilisers and a decrease in the consumption of pesticides.

 

Summary assessment

Detailed assessment

Fertilisation is among significant agrotechnical measures, especially during periods of intensification when artificial fertilisers represent one of the forms of nutrition coming into the agrosystem. The nutrition requirements of plants are different from each other and they are also influenced by other factors, such as: the ways of land management, soil type, climatic conditions.
Excessive and wrong application of artificial fertilisers negatively impacts not only soil but also other elements of the environment. There could be a leaching of nutrients from soil into ground waters and surface waters whereby fertilisation with nitrogen threatens drinking water sources with contamination by nitrates. The conditions of storage and putting into circulation of fertilisers, growing substrates and soil supplement matters for soil treatment as well as utilisation of fertilisers are laid down by the bill  no.136/2000 Z. z. about fertilisers.

For the purpose of agricultural crop protection pesticides are applied, which are preparations for protection of plants from fungi, plant and animal pests.
Pesticides get into water by direct application as well as by being washed from the leaves of treated plants and as a result of being blown away by wind during application.  Lingering of pesticides in soil is affected by multiple factors, such as: chemical structure of the pesticide, the type of soil on which the pesticide is applied (especially the content of organic matter, rainfall and soil humidity), soil microflora in the treated soil, depth to which the pesticide is worked in, the average soil temperature, mineral content and the soil reaction of the treated soil, the density of plant cover, the form of treatment and the concentration of used pesticide.
Rational application and good technical condition of application machinery positively influence the use and consumption of pesticides as well as the decrease of residual impacts.

The supervision over the technical state of the application machinery is addressed by the bill no. 405/2011 Z. z. about plant healthcare and about the change of bill NR SR no. 145/1995 Z. z. about the correct fees in accordance with later decrees.
The greatest potential risk to the environment are persistent pesticides. Easily degradable pesticides, on the other hand, be a cause of serious accidents. Among persistent pesticides we include chlorinated insecticides as well as a multitude of inorganic chemicals, some herbicides, especially triazine ones, some fungicides, especially mercurial ones. The risk of ingestion of pesticides lies with hitting of those organisms which the pesticide was not originally aimed for, in direct endangering of soil and water organisms as well as endangering of other organisms and humans through the food chain.

Contact

Ing. Beata Kročková, SAŽP, beata.krockova@sazp.sk

Related definitions:

A fertiliser is:
1. A matter of organic origin or inorganic origin which contains nutrients for plant and tree nutrition for sustaining or increasing of soil productivity and for positive impact on harvest or quality of production,
2. a soil supplement matter for treatment of soil which, without an effective amount of plant nutrients, impacts the soil biologically, chemically or physically by improving its qualities or increasing the effectiveness and utilisation of nutrients from soil,
3. growing substrate used for rooting and growing of plants; especially peat, earth or their blends,
4. plant supplement matter based on humic substances which, without an effective amount of nutrients, increases the effectiveness and utilisation of nutrients from fertilizers and from soil.


Consumption of artificial fertilisers is the total amount of utilised fertilisers in agricultural business during fiscal year.

Pesticides are preparations for plant protection, they are active substances or mixtures of these substances of chemical, biological or biotechnological origin used to treat plants or their products against harmful agents and for regulation of biological and physiological processes in plants.

We divide them into:

 

  • herbicides - preparations for plant protection against weeds,
  • insecticides - preparations for plant protection against insects,
  • fungicides - preparations for plant protection against fungi,
  • other preparations for plant protection are e.g. fumigants, rodenticides etc.

 

 

Methodology:

 

The bill no. 540/2001 Z. z. about state statistics states that businesses in agriculture have a reporting duty to fill in a statistics form (Yearly Report About Plant Production) which includes data about the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, which needs to be delivered by the due date stated by the Statistics Office of SR - to the applicable local government. The concerned bodies continuously throughout the whole year record the consumption of pesticides and once a year they make the data available via a filled in form and an information sheet.


According to the decree no. 151/2016 Z. z. of the bill about fertilisers no.136/2000 Z. z., which establishes the specifics of agrochemical testing of soil and of storage and use of fertilisers, farmers are required to keep records of utilised fertilisers, agricultural fertilisers, secondary sources of nutrients, composts, compile a balancing comparison of nutrients and supply this data to the control institution - CCTIA via an electronic filing of a form published on their website.


Data sources:

CCTIA, SO SR


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