Treating cultivated fields with gypsum reduces erosion and curbs phosphorus runoff, which causes eutrophication in waterways. Organic farmers have also been interested in this effective waterway protection measure.
The recycled gypsum that is available in Finland, i.e. gypsum that is a byproduct of fertilizer manufacture, is however not suitable for organic farms due to organic standards, which allow only the use of natural virgin gypsum.
This autumn, the River Vantaa gypsum project offered a group of organic farmers from Nurmijärvi the opportunity to try out natural gypsum. The John Nurminen Foundation concluded gypsum spreading agreements with four organic farmers, and as a result, natural gypsum has in the past few weeks been spread in an 80 hectare area.
The gypsum is of Spanish origin. Natural gypsum reduces the phosphorus load in the same way as byproduct gypsum, but its cost is higher.
Olli Lukkarinen from the Kranni farm was happy to participate in the natural gypsum spreading: “Without a doubt, gypsum treatment is a positive thing for us! If this helps the environment, that is just excellent. In our communications to Kranni farm customers, we will certainly point out that we do this as well. These days people are really interested in what we do on the fields and how we farm.”
Read more on the topic:
Read a blog post by Project Manager Anna Saarentaus on the hunt for natural gypsum.
See interview with Olli Lukkarinen and how the natural gypsum was spread (in Finnish):