Indicator: Agricultural nitrogen surplus

A graph shows the agricultural nitrogen surpluses for individual years and as rolling 5-year means between 1990 and 2020. The 5-year-mean nitrogen surpluses in kilogrammes per hectare dropped from 117 to 87. The target for 2030 is 70 kilogrammes per hectare and year. The target for 2030 are 70 kilogrammes per hectare and year.

The five-year average of nitrogen surplus of the total balance per hectare of utilized agricultural land has decreased by 26 % since 1992.The Federal Government aims to reduce the average nitrogen surplus of the total balance of the years 2028 to 2032 to 70 kilogrammes per hectare of agricultural land.If the trend oft he last 10 years continues, the target will be reached. read more

Indicator: Nitrate in groundwater

A graph shows the proportion of groundwater sampling sites where nitrate measurements for the years 2008 to 2020 were above 25 and 50 milligrams per litre. In the period covered, neither sub-indicator has shown any significant change.

The European Nitrates Directive places Germany under the obligation to prevent exceedances of the quality standard of 50 milligrams nitrate per litre.Since 2008, the quality standard has been exceeded every year at almost one in six measuring points.On June 21, 2018, the European Court of Justice found Germany guilty of violating the EU Nitrates Directive.Agriculture is the most important source o... read more

Indicator: Nitrogen eutrophication

A graph shows the proportion of vulnerable ecosystems in Germany where the critical loads for eutrophication were exceeded between 2005 and 2015 and the target for 2030. In 2005, the share was 77 % and in 2015, it was 68 %.

68 % of vulnerable ecosystems in Germany are threatened by excess nitrogen deposition.With the revised German Sustainable Development Strategy 2016, the Federal Government aims to reduce the proportion of these areas by 35 % until 2030. According to the current calculation basis, this results in a target value of 50 % by 2030.This target is feasible only if efforts to reduce air pollution are main... read more

News on Soil | Agriculture

8th Global Nitrogen Conference

A tractor spreading fertilizer on a field

The 8th Global Nitrogen Conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI 2020) follows up on the previous nitrogen conferences that have been held since 1998. This year’s theme is “Nitrogen and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Most of the SDGs are closely related to the nitrogen cycle. read more

News on Soil | Agriculture

Environment and agriculture – Overview for Germany

Ein Feld mit Gräsern und Blüten

More than half of Germany's surface area is used for agriculture. Agriculture thus is the largest land user in Germany and a significant contributor to environmental stress. On the other hand, agriculture is also affected, for example, by the effects of climate change. In the flyer "Environment and agriculture 2018" UBA presents key facts about agriculture and environment. read more

Soil | Agriculture


A tractor spreading fertilizer on a field

In as much as nitrogen is an indispensable nutrient for all living things, the use of mineral and organic nitrogen fertilizers to increase crop yields is a common practice. It is essential that such fertilizer be used judiciously and on a needs oriented basis. Nitrogen surpluses can damage terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and can have harmful climatic, air quality, and biodiversity effects. read more

The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment