Reduction of nitrate discharge through digital nitrogen management and sensor-supported fertilization in the model region Burghausen / Burgkirchen (short title: digisens)

Projectpartner: Technische Universität München (TUM), Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (HSWT)

Cooperationspartner: Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (LfL), Working group Digital Farming, farms in the region, drinkwater consulting

Leader: Prof. Dr. Kurt-Jürgen Hülsbergen

Persons in charge:
TUM: Martin Mittermayer M. Sc., Johannes Schuster, M. Sc., Dr. Franz Xaver Maidl, Marco Luthardt M. Sc., Dipl. Ing. (FH) Andreas Kern, HSWT: Prof. Dr. Frank Leßke

Time: 01/2020 - 12/2022 

Funding: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten, Stadt Burghausen, Gemeinde Burgkirchen an der Alz  


In the Model-region Burghausen/Burgkirchen innovative techniques of digital nutrientmanagement and sensor based nitrogen fertilization will be developed in cooperation of science, farmers and consulting bodies. The new technologies will be adepted to site conditions and farm management and will be tested in different farms. The management technologies will adepted to conventional and organic farming systems


Figure 1: Nitrogen flow of a pig fattening farm with a biogas plant (kg ha-1) (Forster 2017)

The use of the new technologies has the aim to improve the nitrogen effiency, to avoid the environmental impact of nitrogen losses and the increase of nitrate in the groundwater layer mainly in protected areas for drinkwater production. 

The project will show the contribution of digital technologies in farming to decrease of nitrogen losses in farm management.

One focus is the nutrientmanagement fo organic farms. Based on the results the decrease of nitrate losses will be assessed. In the project the further conversion of farms to organic in the model-region will be evaluated regard to the environmental effect and care to drinking water quality.

A sensor-based, site-specific fertilization system in conventional farming is being further developed (derivation and implementation of fertilizer algorithms, optimization of the sensor system - fertilizer spreader interface). The fertilizer system is being tested in field trials and is to be adapted for organic farming. The effects on yield, product quality, economic and ecological effects (fertilizer saving, reduction of nitrate leaching) are quantified.


Figure 2: partrical cut N-Balances of a farm field (13 ha, wheat) of TU München. so parts show high positive N-balance with are not detecable on field balance (10 kg ha-1)  there are local aera of high N-emissions



For the first time, water protection-oriented fertilization algorithms are used. The application on areas that have been fertilized with slurry for many years serves to indirectly record the slurry effect and soil-N-mineralization based on the development of the plants as well as the adaptation of the mineral-N additions to the needs of the plants.

The project results, the further developed technologies and advisory tools should be applicable for agriculture and advisory services in the State of Bavaria beyond the duration of the project. In order to achieve this, the transferability to other regions is evaluated.

The practical transfer of the scientific knowledge takes place through field days, workshops, consultation documents and publications in specialist journals. The active participation of agricultural companies and drinking water protection advice serves to ensure the practical applicability of the new management and fertilization systems as well as the feasibility of the derived drinking water protection measures and strategies


For further informations:



Chair of organic farming and agronomy

Prof. Dr. Kurt-Jürgen Hülsbergen
Liesel-Beckmann Str. 2
85354 Freising

Tel: 08161/71-3032
Fax: 08161/71-3031