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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

LIFE Plants for Plants

Boost conventional agricultures confidence: new organic biostimulants to reduce water, nutrients and pesticide demand

LIFE Plants for Plants
LIFE18 ENV/NL/000043/LandLab. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions

The LIFE Plants for Plants partners developed a pilot-scale industrial production line for organic biostimulants, and demonstrated the application of three new biostimulants (LL002, LL004 and LL017) on a variety of crops in open field trials under different climatic conditions. The project team gained EU-wide certification and commercially launched three products in 2022 (4-Good, 4-Vita, and 4-Terra). The biostimulants achieved significant environmental and socio-economic impacts: (i) increasing the climate resilience of crops; (ii) reducing the use of chemicals and water; (iii) increasing yields; and (iv) providing the coordinating beneficiary and biostimulant producer Van Iperen with a competitive advantage on world markets.

The project team conducted a total of 51 scientific trials, with 124 farmers involved in the application of the new biostimulants. Overall, 455 ha of land and 30 crops were treated in 17 European countries. Those trials/demonstrations led to reductions of 14,700 m³ of water for irrigation, 1,222 kg of phosphorus as fertiliser, and 7.5 kg of fungicides. These resource use reductions help to tackle three environmental threats related to agricultural practices: water scarcity, soil eutrophication, and soil vitality.

In terms of environmental impacts, the biostimulant products 4-Good and 4-Terra (both improving nutrient use efficiency) were shown to reduce CO2 emissions by 18%-24%, and reduce freshwater eutrophication by 24%-28%. Providing an increased yield and crop quality, the products may also reduce the pressure on land use and food waste.

In terms of the socio-economic impacts, the project contributes to the 20% reduction in fertiliser use by 2030 objective defined in the EU Farm to Fork Strategy. The biostimulants improve farmers’ income (e.g. through higher yields), while mitigating the increasing pressure on valuable resources and reducing energy demands (related to fertiliser production). The biostimulants can be used by both conventional and organic farmers, ensuring a sustainable food supply while generating sufficient profits from the sale of their agricultural produce.

The three biostimulant products (4-Good, 4-Vita, and 4-Terra) are certified as organic fertilisers and as biostimulants.

The LIFE LIFE Plants for Plants project won the 2023 LIFE Award in the Environment categoryEN•••