Organic farming systems rely on the efficient use and recycling of available resources, however current P balances indicate a decline in plant available soil P. This suggests that current practice is not sustainable in the long-term. This project will assess current knowledge on P management in organic farming and availability of alternative P fertilizers (APFs) in the 6 partner countries (Austria, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, UK and Denmark). The project's overall aim is to help organic farmers realise the benefits of improved P cycling at a regional scale in full accordance with the goals of organic farming.



In the IMPROVE-P project pot and field experiments will be conducted using APFs and agronomic innovations to improve efficiency of P use on the farm. This will include evaluations of the efficacy and environmental impacts of many APFs, including bio solids and struvite. Innovative ways to improve mobilization of P from soil reserves and APFs will be investigated e.g. the use of P-efficient cultivars, P mobilizing cover crops, and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Stakeholder concerns about the hazards associated with APFs will also be assessed.

NEFG's Role

Working Group
  • Compile information on P sources currently used by organic farmers in partner countries
  • Inventory of APFs in partner countries
  • Field trials testing P-efficient cultivars of potatoes and wheat at Nafferton Farm
  • Conduct workshops in the UK to evaluate stakeholder perceptions towards APFs 

Reaching the End User

Contributions to farmers´ journals, national and international conferences, publications in peer-reviewed journals and web-postings will be used to communicate project findings to the wider community.


This project is funded via the ERA-net CORE Organic II by national funds to each partner. CORE Organic II is a collaboration between 21 countries on initiating transnational research projects in the area of organic food and farming.


Dr. Julia Cooper
University of Newcastle
Phone: +44 1661 830222