Nutrients and crop nutrition

The use of nutrients (fertilisers) is a key component in agricultural production systems, especially the use of nitrogen and phosphorus, but also potassium and micro-nutrients. Their use has impacts not only in terms of the consumption of non-renewable resources, but those which are not taken up by crops can be lost to the wider environment as pollutants, e.g. nitrate and phosphate in surface and groundwater (contributing to eutrophication) or the loss of ammonia and nitrous to the atmosphere (contributing to acid rain and climate change). Consequently, it is important that nutrients are used efficiently – providing efficient nutrition to the crop while minimising losses to the environment and subsequent impacts. AERU have undertaken numerous projects which have included assessing nutrient use and minimising potential impacts.



  • Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D., Green, A., & Lewis, K.A. (2021). A broad-scale spatial analysis of the environmental benefits of fertiliser closed periods implemented under the Nitrates Directive in Europe. Journal of Environmental Management, 299: 113674. DOI.
  • Tzilivakis, J., Green, A., Warner, D.J and Lewis, K.A. (2020) Identification of approaches and measures in action programmes under Directive 91/676/EEC. Final report. Report prepared for Directorate-General Environment, European Commission, for project ENV.D.1/SER/2018/0017 by the Agriculture and Environment Research Unit (AERU), University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. [Download].
  • Lewis, K.A., Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D.J. & Green, A. (2018). Agri-environmental Management in Europe: Sustainable Challenges and Solutions - From Policy Interventions to Practical Farm Management. 5m Publishing, Sheffield, UK. ISBN: 1912178443
  • Warner, D., Tzilivakis, J., Green, A. and Lewis, K. (2017) Environmental impact assessment of sugar beet and sugar cane grown in the United States. Confidential report to Western Sugar Ltd
  • Warner, D.J., Davies, M., Hipps, N., Osborne, N., Tzilivakis, J. & Lewis, K.A. (2010). Greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in UK-grown short-day strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch) crops. Journal of Agricultural Science, 148(6): 667-681. DOI
  • Warner, D.J. and Lewis, K.A. (2008) The impact on greenhouse gas emissions of the revised Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones: Final Report for Project WT0757NVZ. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
  • Tzilivakis, J., Jaggard, K., Lewis, K.A., May, M. & Warner, D.J. (2005). An assessment of the energy inputs and greenhouse gas emissions in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) production in the UK. Agricultural Systems 85, 101-119.
  • Tzilivakis, J., Jaggard, K., Lewis, K.A., May, M. & Warner, D.J. (2005). Environmental impact and economic assessment for UK sugar beet production systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 107, 341-358.
  • Jaggard, K., Tzilivakis, J., Warner, D.J. & Lewis, K.A. (2004) Beet and the environment. British Sugar Beet Review 72(2), 34-37.
  • Tzilivakis, J., Jaggard, K., Lewis, K.A., May, M. & Warner, D.J. (2002). Environmental assessment of sugar beet production. Proceedings of the 65th IIRB (International Institute for Beet Research) Congress, Brussels, February 13-14 2002.

University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire, 2023.