Agriculture durable

More info on the OECD Nitrogen Balance Database...


Indicators and Data


Click here for the complete list of the OECD AEIs included in the latest publication, OECD (2001) Environmental Indicators for Agriculture Volume 3: Methods and Results.

OECD is at the initial stage of establishing a database across the different agri-environmental indicators. The report OECD (2001) Environmental Indicators for Agriculture Volume 3: Methods and Results (see publications) contains the results of indicators and related data derived from OECD Member country responses to an Agri-environmental Indicator Questionnaire circulated in 1999 (unpublished).

While all OECD countries responded to the Questionnaire and/or provided relevant information, the coverage and quality of responses varied considerably, which can largely be explained by two key reasons:

1. Some agri-environmental areas are of little or no relevance to particular countries and as a result information on such issues is either absent or extremely limited (e.g. the issue of water use tends to be unimportant for countries without agricultural irrigation).

2. Data deficiencies exist even where certain issues are important to a country because systematic collection of basic data and construction of indicators has only begun relatively recently in many OECD countries (e.g. biodiversity).

In addition to the OECD Questionnaire, calculation of indicators has been supplemented by data from other sources. These additional sources mainly include:

1. OECD's existing databases and work in the area, in particular, the:

nitrogen balance database (details are provided below);

OECD environmental database and indicators work, see the website at:

Working Group on Pesticides' activity on developing pesticide risk indicators, see the website at:

2. Other international databases, especially the following organisations (for the website addresses of these organisations see WWW Links ):

FAO for agricultural land use data;

EUROSTAT database covering EU member States; and

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for greenhouse gas emission data

As the OECD agri-environmental indicators are further developed and comprehensive and standardised datasets become available, these will be included on this website.

OECD Nitrogen Balance Database (available free of charge on this website)

The OECD soil surface nitrogen balance indicator measures the difference between the nitrogen available to an agricultural system (inputs, mainly from livestock manure and chemical fertilisers) and the uptake of nitrogen by agriculture (outputs, largely crops and forage). The indicator provides information on the potential loss of nitrogen to the soil, the air, and to surface or groundwater (see Environmental Themes - Nutrient Use for further details).

The database to calculate the annual soil surface balances over the period 1985-1997 for 28 OECD Member countries is available free of charge on this website. For using the database it is highly recommended that users read the Explanatory Notes to the Soil Surface Nitrogen Balances (available as a PDF file).

The database can be downloaded from this website as follows:

Searchable database. This database enables the user to search the nitrogen soil surface balances, for particular categories of data over time (1985-1997 annually) and/or by countries for the following key categories of data:

  • Fertiliser use
  • Livestock numbers (by different livestock categories)
  • Crop and forage production
  • Agricultural land use
  • Nitrogen conversion coefficients
  • Quantity of nitrogen (nitrogen inputs and uptake)
  • Nitrogen balance

The searchable database can be downloaded as an Access 97 file:

- Database files manual (_> 4.6MB download, then launch the setup.exe)

If Access97 is not available on your PC then please download the database through the following link:

- Database files + Runtime Access97 ( >14MB download, then launch the setup.exe), depending on the memory size or speed of downloading of your computer either as:

i. a single file: all or as,

ii. multiple files : 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7


or as an MS-Access 2002 file (zip file >1.8MB) soon available

OECD would welcome any comments on this dataset.


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