Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Economic assessment of nitrogene fertilization strategies in open field vegetable production


Optimierung Stickstoffdünung (c) Thünen-Institut
(© Thünen-Institut)

Economic assessment of nitrogene fertilization strategies in open field vegetable production

Economic assessment of nitrogene fertilization strategies in open field vegetable production

Which new fertilization strategies in vegetable production can be applied in the context of the new fertilizer ordinance to achieve profitable and sustainable production and to minimize leaching of nitrate to ground water?

Background and Objective

Using innovative fertilization strategies can lead to an increased efficiency of nutrients and reduce the risk of nitrate leaching. Therefore these strategies are highly relevant in the ecological and economic sustainability of vegetable production. The project aims to assess innovative fertilization strategies with regards to their economic feasibility and compliance with the new fertilizer ordinance.

Target Group

Vegetable growers

technical advisors for vegetable production




In a period of three years, project partners implement and test innovative fertilization
 strategies on vegetable farms in three major horticultural production regions: Niederrhein, Pfalz and Knoblauchsland. Direct and indirect costs of the new fertilization strategies are assessed by the Thünen-Institute of Farm Economics in order to identify efficient strategies. Specific characteristics such as farm structures, regional characteristics and crop requirements are taken into account. Also the risks of changes in yield level and product quality are considered. Project results will be presented in workshops where growers and advisors will have the opportunity to comment and discuss.

Data and Methods

The economic assessment of new fertilization strategies is based on
selected production systems of different crops in the study regions, based on the typical farm approach. Therefore, models of production systems are established with technical and economic parameters each representing a specific crop crop, region and type of farms. Three main sources of data are used to establish the typical production systems:accounting and plot-related literature/statistics, technical advisors and farmers. The typical production system models are discussed with expert panels of farmers and advisors, and adjusted according to expert opinion as necessary. These typical production systems serve as reference scenario (baseline). The data from on-farm testing of the new strategies are then used to derive technology adoption scenarios to assess costs and benefits. Rather than calculating costs for individual farms, the results from the typical production system analysis allow more general conclusions that refer to the different crops and farm types.

Preliminary Results

First results are expected by march 2017

Links and Downloads


Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Landwirtschaftskammer Nordrhein-Westfalen
    (Bonn, Deutschland)
  • Amt für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten Fürth
    (Fürth, Deutschland)
  • Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum Rheinpfalz
    (Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Deutschland)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Gemüse- und Zierpflanzenbau
    (Großbeeren, Deutschland)

Funding Body

  • Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)
    (national, öffentlich)


4.2016 - 12.2019

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing