How the element that makes the Northern Lights can help us grow food more sustainably.




Known as the most spectacular view in the sky, the Northern Lights’ purple, blue and violet lights are caused by nitrogen. Nitrogen can create stunning views, but most importantly it is essential to grow our food.






Plants cannot grow without nitrogen. Nitrogen is all around us, making up 78% of the air but plants can only absorb it from the soil.
To grow, a plant uptakes nutrients from the ground. Unless the nutrients are replenished, the soil’s fertility declines with every harvest.


Nitrogen is a particularly important nutrient, a main factor for crop yield and quality, but at the same time nitrogen losses to the environment affect air and water quality and have an impact on biodiversity.

To make it easier to measure how much nitrogen is ‘just right’, a group of scientists united in the EU Nitrogen Expert Panel created a solution called the Nitrogen Use Efficiency Indicator. It can support farmers to apply nitrogen more precisely in food production.





The Nitrogen Use Efficiency Indicator encourages the efficient use of fertilizer, allowing to minimise environmental impacts and achieve better crop yields. Watch the video to discover how it works and how EU agriculture can reap its benefits.

The European fertilizer sector is committed to advance a productive, resilient and sustainable EU agriculture.