Back to list >

Fertilizers for organic farming: the latest after italian decree

January 17, 2017 is an important date for the world of organic farming.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has in fact published a new decree updating the official list of fertilizers for organic farming.

In particular, this new Ministerial Decree represents an update of Attachments number 6 and number 13 of Legislative Decree n. 75 of 29 April 2010, concerning the “Reorganization and revision of the discipline regarding fertilizers, in accordance with Article 13 of Law no. 88 of 7 July 2009 “.

Let’s see together what specifically provides for this regulatory update: how does the list of permitted fertilizers change, what are the prohibited substances and what information is available to operators and farmers to better orientate themselves in the purchase of products that can be used for the fertilization of organic crops.

The new fertilizers allowed in organic farming.

The first novelty introduced by the new legislation concerns the origin of the microorganisms that make up the fertilizers that can be used in the biological cultivation of their land.

Based on the European Reference Standard on Organic Production, it is no longer possible to use fertilizers containing the microelements provided for by EC Regulation 2003/2003 if these are made from salts containing macro-elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

To the current list of fertilizing products that are allowed in organic farming have been added:

  • National fertilizers, such as Vegetable Digestion deriving from the mixing of vegetable substances after having undergone an anaerobic fermentation or composting process for the production of biogas;
  • The Ammendants, or Zeolites provided that they have a completely natural origin and that they have not been enriched with chemicals;
  • Cultivation Substrates, either basic or mixed, which have the task of anchoring the roots and retaining water and other nutrients. Artificial manure, rock wool, lignite and polyurethane foams are excluded from this category;
  • Products with Specific Action, such as Hydrolysed Protein based on alfalfa, Enzyme Hydrolysis of Fabaceae, Seaweed Cream Filter, Seaweed Cream Filter Solution and Nitrous Fluid Extract based on MacrocystisIntegrifolia algae.

It should also be noted that any of the fertilizers allowed in organic farming must be used when there are specific nutritional needs of the plant, ie when:

  • It is not possible to exploit other agronomic practices;
  • It is not possible to find sufficient natural resources within the cultivation systems.

New fertilizer products, new labeling needs.

The exclusion of certain products on the basis of the microorganisms that compose them has necessitated the introduction of new labeling needs.

In particular, Annex 13 manages the “Designations of the type of Fertilizers allowed in Organic Agriculture”: from this moment the label of each product must specify the type of salt from which the microelement indicated as the main component of the biological fertilizer originates.

Furthermore, all the raw materials used and any additional requirements must be indicated on the label.

The obligation to dispose of stocks.

Changing and integrating organic fertilizer labels is not enough, it is also necessary to dispose of the stocks of those existing products.

Within 12 months the experts will have to dispose of the stocks in stock of products based on mixtures of microelements, including simple salts, based on:

  • Nitrate;
  • Phosphorus;
  • A mix of both.

If the stocks have not been disposed of within this period, the products can no longer be marketed.

However, this aspect seems a bit ‘twisted, for this reason we still await the official interpretation of the Category Associations about what established by the Ministry itself.

A Register of Fertilizers always available thanks to the National Agricultural Information System (SIAN).

Remembering perfectly which fertilizers for organic farming are allowed by law is practically impossible.

For this reason the National Agricultural Information System (SIAN) has created this section where producers, farmers, control bodies and technical consultants can examine the Register of Fertilizers and find all the information they need.

In particular, searches can be performed using three different criteria:

  • By manufacturer;
  • By type name;
  • By trade name.

Alternatively, it is possible to print the Registry itself; moreover it is possible to choose between a “conventional use” and a “biological use”.

If, for example, you choose to search by manufacturer of fertilizers for biological use, you will get a list of all the products that the company has registered.

In addition to each product it is possible to know the specific technical characteristics.

The tool made available by SIAN is undoubtedly very useful and easy to use, however there are some products that are still waiting to be reclassified as a result of the new legislation.

For this reason, once identified the product of interest, it is good to always do further research for confirmation.

Specifically, I advise you to check each time the components of the fertilizer in the list of Annex 1 of the EC Regulation 889/2008 and to check, always referring to this legislation, the conditions of use envisaged and the technical evaluations on use of that particular product.

It is the task of the biological operator enrolled in the Register of Manufacturers to apply the biological method in detail and put in place all the necessary precautions to ensure that the organic fertilizers placed on the market comply with the reference standard.