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Yara announces commitment for a cleaner Baltic Sea

Oslo, April 05, 2013
Yara announced its commitment to reduce nitrogen leakage from fields to the Baltic Sea. Yara will leverage its quality products, application and crop expertise and technology to support environmental performance and profitability in about 120 demo farms around the Baltic.
Yara N-Sensor

“Nutrient run-off is one of the major environmental problems in the Baltic Sea. However, nutrient efficiency in agriculture can be improved through best agricultural practices and by using new technology and innovations,” says Yara CEO and President Jørgen Ole Haslestad.

Yara presented its commitment for a cleaner Baltic Sea at the Baltic Sea Action Summit, which took place in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 5-6. Heads of state and business leaders were gathered to discuss concrete solutions for saving the Baltic Sea.

This is Yara’s second commitment given to Baltic Sea Action Group, and it is valid for two years.

“Yara’s vision is to turn the Baltic Sea region into one of the most progressive agricultural regions globally, through cooperation between public and private sector,” says Jørgen Ole Haslestad.

Best agricultural practices

One of the main challenges of agriculture today is to cost-effectively and efficiently produce a sufficient amount of food for the rapidly growing world population in an environmentally friendly way. Both goals can be reached through best agricultural practices - using the right type of fertilizer, the right amount, at the right time, in the right place - and by utilizing innovative technologies. This ensures the best possible yield and that nutrients are not left in the soil to be washed away to waterways.

Yara commits to support the Baltic Deal demo farm network, which aims to help farmers decrease their nutrient run-off to the sea while maintaining productivity and competitiveness. The network, established by the EU flagship project Baltic Deal, consists of 118 farms around the Baltic Sea. Yara will share knowledge about best agricultural practices by organizing meetings between demo farms within and across national borders in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Baltic states, Poland and Germany.

“This commitment is a showcase of how Yara links the interests of our business, farmers and society: Yara’s sales and marketing activities support farmers’ competitiveness as well as a cleaner Baltic Sea,” says Tero Hemmilä, Country Manager and Commercial Director of Downstrean in Finland.

Innovative solutions to reduce environmental impact

Gypsum spreading

Yara has developed several new technologies and innovative solutions, e.g. the Yara N-Sensor for improved nutrient efficiency, and the P-TraP, a gypsum application that markedly reduces phosphorus leakage from fields into waterways. Yara commits to lend three N-Sensors to farmers in Finland, Poland and Latvia.

“In Finland we will lend a Yara N-Sensor to a farmer in the Western part of Finland. Through e.g. field demo days we are targeting a wide range of stakeholders such as farmers, authorities, food-chain partners and media,” explains Tero Hemmilä.

The Yara N-Sensor is a device that, mounted on the tractor cabin, detects areas of different nitrogen demand and adjusts nitrogen fertilizer supply accordingly on-the-go. This way nitrogen rates are adapted to crop demand on every spot of the field and both over- and under-fertilization can be avoided. As a result farmers get improved nitrogen use efficiency through yield increase, and nitrogen run-off is decreased.

Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for plant growth. Nitrogen is important to create vegetative growth and it is also essential to build amino acids and proteins, which are crucial for humans and animals. Suboptimal nitrogen supply results in lower yields and often also in lower quality yield. Excessive use results in leaching to rivers and ground water, and further into the Baltic Sea. Leached nitrogen may cause eutrophication, and eventually result in dead sea bottoms and other environmental problems.

Phosphorus leakage reduced by 60%

Yara’s commitment to The Baltic Sea Action Summit 2013 is a continuation of the commitment Yara made in 2010 to reduce phosphorus leakage into the Baltic Sea. Yara committed to treat 100 hectares of the most vulnerable land in the southwestern parts of Finland with gypsum. Research results show that gypsum reduces phosphorus run-off by up to 60 percent.

The Baltic Sea region needs a competitive and productive agricultural sector. The region will play an increasingly important role in future food production because of climate change effects, e.g. longer growing seasons and warmer average temperatures. The region has approx. 25 million hectares of arable land and 85 million inhabitants.

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