Minister Christianne van der Wal examines soil with Eurofins
30 May 2023
Last week, colleagues from Eurofins Agro had the honour of meeting with the Minister Christianne van der Wal from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in The Hague. By handing over a "nitrogen value check," Eurofins emphasized the power of nitrogen in the soil and the need to measure more than just nitrogen. The minister also took a soil sample in the minister's courtyard as a symbol of importance in understanding all aspects of the soil with data. With this one result, the minister will gain an overall picture of the soil health. This is one of the key points of Eurofins' nitrogen vision: measure the complete soil health not just in agriculture but in all aspects of nature. By doing this, we can monitor soil improvement and nature restoration with data - providing fact-based knowledge.
The power of nitrogen
Eurofins emphasized two aspects to Minister Van der Wal. Firstly, that soil must contain nitrogen in order to sequester CO2 (carbon sequestration). The Paris Agreement identifies this as an important means to combat climate change. Minister Van der Wal confirmed this right away. Secondly, nitrogen is required in the soil to increase organic matter and therefore the water-holding capacity of the soil. This improves the sponge effect of the soil; reducing its sensitivity to drought and allowing heavy rainfall to be absorbed more effectively. Van der Wal: "Nitrogen is indeed very important, it's all about having the right amount available in the right form!". Soil research provides important insights into this.
Measuring as a supplement to models
Eurofins then emphasizes that only on the basis of measuring the overall picture of soil health can informed decisions for nature restorations be made. Soil testing provides information on the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the soil and offers insight into the essential nutrients for plant growth, water-holding capacity, biodiversity and carbon fixation. In-depth soil analysis is therefore a valuable tool alongside deposition models on which nitrogen policy is currently based.
The minister is planning to visit the Eurofins laboratory in Wageningen after the summer.