Research project explores the use of gypsum in fields as a measure for protecting the Baltic Sea

Press release 2019-11-07 at 9:33

This year, the Ministry of the Environment is launching a research and development project to promote the gypsum treatment of fields in the countries around the Baltic Sea. The aim is to reduce nutrient leaching from agriculture and to improve the state of the sea.

The project will produce information on the possibilities for using gypsum as an agricultural water protection measure in the coastal states around the Baltic Sea. This will make it possible to recognise the use of gypsum as a means of reducing eutrophication in the Baltic Sea Action Plan of the Baltic Marine Environment Commission (HELCOM) and in the nutrient recycling strategy for the Baltic Sea region.

The research project will be carried out by the John Nurminen Foundation in cooperation with the Economics Department of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Environment Institute in 2019–2021. The project will produce information on the readiness of farmers in different countries to begin using gypsum in their fields, the potential surface areas for gypsum spreading, operating practices, and the logistics needed for large-scale gypsum use in fields.

Countries involved in the project are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark and Sweden. A gypsum pilot will be implemented jointly in countries that have good capabilities and significant potential for reducing nutrient loads. At the same time, the project will strengthen cooperation between agri-environmental protection operators and produce more information on the protection of the Baltic Sea.

Gypsum treatment of fields is a cost-effective way to reduce the phosphorus load from agriculture. Including the measure as part of water protection in agriculture and adopting it extensively in the Baltic Sea region would be an important step towards achieving HELCOM’s objectives for reducing nutrient loads.

The project has also received funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Inquiries:

Tarja Haaranen, Programme Manager, tel. +358 295 250 282, firstname.lastname@ym.fi