Rock flour: innovation in agricultural fertilizing (NL)

Project partners NOFA municipalities

Contact data
Wim Oosterhuis/Andree Hofer
Municipality of Dantumadiel
PO-box 22
9104 ZG Damwâld
tel. +31 511426428 / +31 646366083;


Keywords Agri-environment, Fertilizer, Environmental management, Environmental learning, Soil quality

Main problems to be solved (analysis) The past decades the focus of agriculture was to intensive agriculture. As a result of fertilizer the yield increased enormously. However knowledge of soil minerals got lost and soil fertility decreased significantly, resulting in the rise of plant- and animal diseases. Rock flour can contribute to a more sustainable agriculture and cure the lack of soil minerals.

Therefore a research project is set up with 5 regional farmers who are also representatives of agricultural nature organisations, suppliers, research bureaus, educational institutes and a local government Goal of the project is proving a positive result using rock flour on soil-minerals and production of crops (as well in quantity and quality) as well as sustainable aspects (CO2 in soil, less wash of fertilizer and (toxic) waste in a joint project of farmers, educational institutes, professors, students local government and a research bureaus.

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in Cooperation with VALD en NFW Vald: The Association of Agricultural Natural Resources Dantumadeel (VALD) has launched the project "landscape restoration Dantumadeel". The aim of the project is to restore and strengthen the unique “Singelarea” in Dantumadiel.

NFW. The association NFW (Noardlike Fryske Wâlden is an umbrella organization of six associations for nature and landscape for the benefit of its members. She strives for an area vital agriculture is intertwined with the cultural and historical landscape and natural values contained therein ". She wants to be from the collective members (bottom-up) act as field partner and influencer of policy towards citizens and other partners (shareholders of the Noardlike Fryske Wâlden).

Aim of the project The aim of this pilot project is to demonstrate a positive effect on the soil and the crop due to the single application of rock flour at the location of the test sites (livestock), leading to sustainability and stronger farms. Rock flour help facilitates involvement of CO2 in the soil, to enrich the soil (minerals and bio diversity) to raise production of crops and grass and to deminish (toxic) waste because of fertilizer .

Practical research is needed to determine how these 'natural' form of fertilization can be optimally deployed in the various forms of agriculture. With the support of the Kenniswerkplaats. The Rock flour project is a strong showcase of De Kenniswerkplaats because of - the innovativity of the pilot and the unusualness and innovativity of the partnership (farmers, also as representatives of agricultural organisations), suppliers, educational institutes, local government and a research bureau) - the contribution to a sustainable agriculture - the additional knowledge questions of partners and educational institutes anticipating on these question.

De Kenniswerkplaats is an initiative to activate SMEs to cooperate with educational institutes. De Kenniswerkplaats is a place where entrepreneurs, public authorities, educational institutes (universities), research institutes, and representatives of the local environment come together to work the challenges of the region for a better socio economical future. The region of North East Fryslân is facing a lot of challenges and public and private organizations partners have lots of questions regarding this challenges and changing circumstances. In the region educational institutes settled in the neighbouring cities Leeuwarden en Groningen are active with lots of individual projects and lots of studies and investigations in cooperation with regional organisations, but there is not a structural link between the regional questions and projects and no structured system, no directing roles on knowledge questions. A structural support and therefore a sustainable link between region and university education is needed for a structural support to innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the Agenda for the region and to attract young talent to the region. De Kenniswerkplaats is a process instrument that structures cooperation in regional triple helix environment.

De Kenniswerkplaats is a centre of innovation and of knowledge creation. Universities and university schools of thre region Leeuwarden Groningen and the Wageningen University Researchcentre (WUR) are connected to De Kenniswerkplaats. Also the authorities of the NOFA-region and the province of Fryslân are connected. In De Kenniswerkplaats involved partners are working on the key question for agenda for the region North East Fryslân. Keywords for implementation are innovation and linking/joining. Rock Flour is a showcase pilot of the De Kenniswerkplaats.

Expected outcome within the WP - A proven positive influence on soil and crops because of using rock-flour, resulting in growth of use of rock flour resulting in a more sustainable agriculture. - A sustainable innovation project as a result of an innovative approach described in De Kenniswerkplaats.

Expected outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project) People: Involvement of students, educational institutes, farmers , scientist in a sustainable project that’s applicable in the region Planet: The project is a specific showcase of sustainability by improving the soil fertility and reducing CO2. Profit: On a longer term this sustainable farming is more profitable.

Planning September 2010 to May 2014

Costs € 70.000

Financing - Funding by green educational institutes AOC (agriculture education) and Van Hall Larenstein (green university school), research centres - Resources of educational institutes, students, farmers, research centres De Kenniswerkplaats, and the Municipality of Dantumadiel - ministry of Economics, Argriculture and Innovation; program Regional Transition - Vital Rural Area

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA)

which stakeholders were involved? Municipality of Dantumadiel, federation of innovative sustainable farming (VALD/Kollumer Grien), engaged farmers, Van Hall Larenstein, AOC, Wageningen University, (Educational institutes), Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation, De Kenniswerkplaats, NFW (landscape organization of farmers), research centre Arcadis,

how did you sustainably implement the project (locally, regionally)? Members of the Vald, Kollumer Grien (innovative sustainable farming) are also representatives of the Northern Frysk Woods an umbrella organization for innovative farming.


1 Which successes were achieved so far in the pilot project? Involvement of farmers and their organizations, involvement of a research centre, positive articles in newspapers.

2 What are the expected boundary conditions for the project to be implemented? - One partner who is willing to be the leader of the pilot including (financial) administration

- Engagement and involvement of the partners

3 Which related projects can be studied or consulted (other innovative best practice examples) before starting to think on implementation?

Preventing River Pollution from Farming Activities in the Dommel and Warmbeek River Basin Creation of natural buffer zones of 6 to 12 metre grass strips, to be managed by local farmers, preventing harmful fertilisers and pesticides from poluting the river water, improving water quality and protecting the biodiversity of the river basin.

Composting Plant Adds Value to Waste Products

This is a Spanish cooperative project to build a composting plant to recycle olive oil production by-products for use as nutrients in olive groves. The project enhances soil quality and reduces the potential polluting capacity of such by-products.

4 What is the applicability / transferability of the project? a) as derived from the project results

The result of the pilot will include the applicability of rock flour in other areas.

b) as derived from testing or implementation the project or the project results elsewhere. What were the results there?

5 Which tools does the project bring in to alleviate / help starting up implementation elsewhere? - The pilot is a showcase for De kenniswerkplaats. Additional questions of farmers on e.g. business cases, soil consequences and effect on CO2 can be answered by educational institutes in the frame of De Kenniswerkplaats.

6 Sustainability a) How is/can the project be sustainably implemented? What is needed to reach this? Members of the Vald, Kollumer Grien (innovative sustainable farming) are also representatives of the Northern Frysk Woods an umbrella organization for innovative farming. Engagement and a capacity to perform as a change agent and a pioneer are necessary for such a pilot.

b) what are the benefits of the project seen from the Profit, Planet, and People side? People: Involvement of students, educational institutes, farmers, scientist in a sustainable project that’s applicable in the region Planet: The project is a specific showcase of sustainability by improving the soil fertility and reducing CO2. Profit: On a longer term this sustainable farming is more profitable.