Advanced manure standards for sustainable nutrient management and reduced emissions

October 2017 -
December 2019


Policy area:
2. Natural resources 2.1 Clear waters


Agriculture releases large amounts of nutrients into the Baltic Sea, with a significant amount of emissions from animal manure. In this project, policy makers, authorities, advisors, farmers and researchers create, test and implement tools to determine manure standards for farming practices and policy instruments. The new manure standards are to improve nutrient recycling and reduce nutrient inflow in the Baltic Sea.


The challenge

Animal manure as a source of nutrients

Agriculture releases large quantities of nutrients into the Baltic Sea, with a significant amount of emissions from animal manure. This contributes to increasing of the euthrophication processes in the sea waters. The actual figures, however, are difficult to assess due to incomparable measuring methods and different ways of collecting data across the Baltic Sea region countries.

Lack of standards

Smart nutrient management in agriculture is one of the most efficient agri-environmental measures to reduce input of nutrients into the Baltic Sea. Currently, most manure is spread on fields as fertiliser without processing. If the manure is used in precision, the nutrient inflow from manure into the Baltic Sea could instantly be reduced. In order to achieve that, farmers and advisers need tools for proper nutrient bookkeeping, along with efficient fertilisation plans and nutrient balances. Equally important is to develop measuring methods that are transparent and harmonised, and applied at all levels: from farms up to the regional and national level across the Baltic Sea region.


Tools for better handling manure

The partners helped farmers and their advisors use manure as a resource more wisely and efficiently on almost 100 farms in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Thanks to research, comparing samples and calculating manure content across the farms, the partners developed tools that can universally be applied in the region. Now, farmers and their advisors have the means to collect more precise manure data. Based on the data, they can better plan the fertilisation processes with manure on their farms, use the correct amount of the manure as a fertiliser and – in this way – cut costs on buying mineral fertilisers and reduce emissions into the environment. For example, thanks to a manure properties calculation tool, farmers in Estonia can now implement efficient fertilisation with manure and ensure adequate capacity for manure storage.

Harmonanisation on the national level

The partners also helped agricultural and environmental authorities keep national and regional manure data updated. The data help shape manure-related policies and authoritative measures developed by the authorities in their daily work.

Thanks to the project, in Sweden, it was agreed to use the new calculation tool developed by the project partners. In Latvia, national authorities decided to update sampling and analysis methodology to get more precise data on manure composition, including nutrient content. In Finland, the Finnish Food Authority and the authorities responsible for environmental permitting of animal farms started using the project tools as guidelines to improve the permitting and surveillance processes. The authorities in Estonia plan to change the regulation on manure data generation and turn the farm-level calculation tool into an official tool for measuring manure nutrients and emissions on farms.

From local to pan-Baltic results

In the pan-Baltic context, based on the project results, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) developed and adopted the recommendations on the use of national manure standards. These recommendations guide the Baltic Sea region countries to improve manure data by establishing as well as reviewing and updating the national standard values for manure. HELCOM also uses the project results in preparing a Baltic Sea Regional Nutrient Recycling Strategy.

Thanks to the EUR 1.91 million support from the EU, the Interreg project Manure Standards delivered practical tools for effective manure management on a farm, regional, national and pan-Baltic levels. Researchers together with farmers and agricultural advisors from nine countries proved that manure management should be based on up-to-date data on manure quantity and composition. This is the way to maximise benefits manure brings as a valuable fertiliser and to minimise losses to the environment.



Project Stories


€ 2.87
€ 1.91
Eni + Russia
€ 0.36
€ 0.00



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Project manager

Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke

Sari Luostarinen

358 403 557 028

Legal representative

Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke

Johanna Buchert


Financial manager

Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke

Raili Keronen


Communication manager

Natural Resources Institute Finland Luke

Miitta Eronen