Reducing nitrogen loss from livestock production by promoting the use of slurry acidification techniques in the Baltic Sea Region
Baltic Slurry Acidi.
 
PROGRAMME 2014-2020
priority
2 Natural resources
objective
2.1 Clear waters

Baltic Slurry Acidi.

In the Interreg project Baltic Slurry Acidification, farmers around the Baltic Sea tested the technology of treating animal manure with acid to reduce ammonia emissions harmful to people and the environment, and to gain valuable fertilisers for their crops instead.
The challenge

Harmful emissions

Agriculture is accountable for about 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. In the Baltic Sea region, a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions are ammonia emissions from animal manure slurry on farms. Ammonia emissions cause most of the airborne eutrophication of the Baltic Sea, almost all of which come from livestock manure slurry.

Not only do ammonia emissions threaten the waters of the Baltic Sea but also harm people’s health through the formation of secondary particulate matter, which is among the pollutants with the highest estimated impact on human health.

From waste to profit

In their work, farmers around the Baltic Sea region dispose tonnes of manure produced by their animals, which - if not dealt with properly - emit large amounts of ammonia. Additionally, farmers have to spend money to buy fertilisers for their crops.

In Denmark, farmers from 70 farms treat existing manure with acid, which reduces ammonia from evaporation from animal slurry into the atmosphere and reduce nitrogen loss. When the pH of the manure is lowered, emissions decrease and nitrogen is stabilised into a plant-available form. Moreover, the treated slurry can effectively be used as a fertiliser on the same farm without the need to purchase mineral nitrogen and sulphur fertilisers. The technology proved to be successful in Denmark; however, it is not widely spread, providing a chance for the project Baltic Slurry Acidification to make the Danish example common practice around the Baltic Sea.

Budgets

Baltic Slurry Acidi.
in numbers
  • 5.08
    Million
    Total
  • 3.99
    Million
    Erdf
  • 0.00
    Million
    Eni + Russia
  • 0.00
    Million
    Norway

Achievements

Pilot investments in six farms

For over a decade, Danish farmers have successfully been treating animal manure with acid to reduce ammonia emissions but this practice was not widespread in the Baltic Sea region. Now for the first time, six commercial farms, experimental farms and agricultural contractors tested slurry acidification techniques (SATs) in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. They tested the change in ammonia, the effect of using the treated slurry as fertiliser, and the running costs.

Farmers from each test site teamed up with at least one other organisation to get assistance in buying and setting up the slurry acidification tankers as well as in running the tests. For example, the Swedish RISE Research Institute, Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre and Danish Organe Institute supported SAT investments at the test sites of the Estonian Crop Research Institute, Polish Institute of Technology and Life Sciences and the Latvian private farm Lauku Agro.

Satisfying SATs

After 70 acidification processes and around 35,000 tonnes tons of slurry acidified, farmers from four out of six farms concluded to further use acidification techniques. Most of them did not notice any negative influence on the machinery nor the soil’s pH. The field trials proved that slurry acidification decreases ammonia emissions by 49–64%, and mineral nitrogen kept in slurry as a fertiliser allows for savings within the range of 0.77–2.10 € for each cubic meter of slurry.

The farmers shared this new knowledge with other farmers and agricultural advisors who visited test sites to learn more about the equipment and the field trials. The Swedish farm Br Göransson together with the Rural Economy and Agricultural Society exhibited the SAT equipment at the Swedish Borgeby Agricultural Expo and three conferences for milk and meat producers, reaching over 20,000 people in the industry.

Acidification techniques for businesses

Thanks to the support from the Polish Institute of Technology and Life Sciences in assessing the market potential, the Polish enterprises Pomot, Agroserwis and Lukomet became distributors of SATs in Poland. The Danish company Ørum Smeden has enough knowledge now on how to enter the Polish agricultural market with their products.

The Estonian Crop Research Institute helped Eesti Agritehnika become a distributor of SATs in Estonia, whereas another company Väätsa Agro AS learned from the project how to best apply slurry acidification into their current manure and fertiliser management.

The RISE Research Institute of Sweden worked closely with a Swedish consulting company Lifsung AB to integrate them into the existing Swedish manure handling systems and build their capacity for advising their clients on acidification techniques.

From local test case to regional good practice

The Interreg project Baltic Slurry Acidification used EUR 3.99 million from the European Union to turn a proven Danish solution into common practice in the region. Now, farmers around the Baltic Sea have more options at hand how to treat animal manure, reduce harmful ammonia emissions and fertilise their crops at the same time.

Spreading the project recommendations and results further is continued in the framework of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region project platform SuMaNu. The platform combines expertise from several projects to more efficiently manage manure and reduce the negative impact of farming on the Baltic Sea.

Outputs

Pilots SATs, procurement installation and commissioning in countries in the Baltic Sea Region

A set of reports presents lessons learned from six test sites. Six private farms, experimental farms, and agricultural contractors in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden tested seven slurry acidification tankers to apply slurry acidification technology, and to reduce nitrogen loss and ammonia emissions, improve crop yield, and to make a profit. The reports provide agricultural advisors and farmers around the Baltic Sea with detailed knowledge on the slurry acidification technology, including country-specific procurement processes, cost calculations, and field test results.

Policy recommendations for supporting SAT implementation

The report compiles policy recommendations of agricultural and rural advisory agencies and research institutes from Sweden, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Russia, Belarus and Denmark on the implementation of slurry acidification technology across the Baltic Sea region. The report helps research institutes as well as farmer organisations and advisory services promote the uptake of slurry acidification technology.

Project Stories

Partners

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

  • Town
    Uppsala
  • Region
    Uppsala län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
1,096,150.01
59.858612617.6387436

Estonian Crop Research Institute

  • Town
    Jõgeva
  • Region
    Lõuna-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
474,000.00
58.761859626.3992252

The Foundation for a Living Baltic Sea (Baltic Sea Action Group)

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
334,312.50
60.167488124.9427473

Ltd Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre

  • Town
    Ozolnieki
  • Region
    Zemgale
  • Country
    Latvia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
111,990.00
56.690293823.7853409

Lithuanian Agricultural Advisory Services

  • Town
    Akademija, Kėdainiai district
  • Region
    Kauno apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
134,196.00
54.895381423.8238007

Institute of Technology and Life Sciences

  • Town
    Raszyn
  • Region
    Warszawski zachodni
  • Country
    Poland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
436,200.00
52.389508316.873771

Agricultural Advisory Center in Brwinow Branch Office in Radom

  • Town
    Radom
  • Region
    Radomski
  • Country
    Poland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
156,250.00
52.851736216.7492082

State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas of the German Federal State Schleswig-Holstein (LLUR)

  • Town
    Flintbek
  • Region
    Rendsburg-Eckernförde
  • Country
    Germany
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
300,750.00
54.243209210.0633244

Blunk GmbH

  • Town
    Rendswühren
  • Region
    Neumünster, Kreisfreie Stadt
  • Country
    Germany
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
556,833.00
54.073637810.1803747

Union "Farmers Parliament"

  • Town
    Riga
  • Region
    Rīga
  • Country
    Latvia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
114,040.00
56.949397724.1051846

Association of ProAgria Centres

  • Town
    Vantaa
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
204,884.00
60.309187125.0364526

The Rural Economy and Agricultural Society

  • Town
    Uppsala
  • Region
    Uppsala län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
100,000.00
59.858612617.6387436

Br Goransson

  • Town
    Kvidinge
  • Region
    Skåne län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
390,416.00
56.135365913.0449906

Lithuanian University of Health Sciences

  • Town
    Kaunas
  • Region
    Kauno apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
266,742.50
54.898213923.9044817

SIA Vecsiljani

  • Town
    Bebru pagasts, Kokneses novads
  • Region
    Zemgale
  • Country
    Latvia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
10,611.80
56.924051623.9097181

Organe Institute Plc

  • Town
    Århus N
  • Region
    Østjylland
  • Country
    Denmark
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
150,000.00
56.149627810.2134046

Lauku Agro Ltd.

  • Town
    Dobeles
  • Region
    Zemgale
  • Country
    Latvia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
238,728.20
56.534691124.0505983

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