Baltic Manure aimed to formulate common manure standards to enhance an advanced agronomically and environmentally sound manure management in the Baltic Sea Region by improving the knowledge on manure and sustainable manure handling techniques.
MTT Agrifood Research - FinlandLead applicant
University of Southern - DenmarkInitiative partner
Aarhus University (AU) - DenmarkInitiative partner
Agro Business Park - DenmarkInitiative partner
Finnish Environment Institute (Finland) - FinlandInitiative partner
Baltic Manure – turning manure problems into opportunities by implementing sustainable manure management in the Baltic Sea Region.
Basically manure is an ideal fertiliser product as it provides not only the essential plant nutrients, but also organic matter. So far manure application rates may not exceed a maximum of 170 kg/ha N. With a view to P, such practice causes an excessive oversupply of P when pig and poultry manure are applied according to these N-rates. One solution to the problem could be to allocate manure to fields with low P status, and dose the manure according to manure P content and crop need without exceeding maximum N rates. To meet the exact P demand and to ensure a balanced, variable rate fertilisation of manure, fertiliser algorithms for manure were developed within the project. However, if a surplus of manure P exists on farm level, a solution could be to separate the slurry into a liquid and solid phase, where the P-rich solid phase could be exported from the farm to areas with a high P-demand. This solution calls for markets for the P-rich solids.
From local to national, From national to regional, Mostly regional (EU-Med level)
The Baltic Sea Basin is an area of intensive, and intensifying agricultural production. Thus farming systems, farming practices and consumer requirements have a strong impact on the condition of the Baltic Sea. There are about 36 million units of cattle, 67 million units of pigs, and 190 million units of poultry in the region and it is calculated that the manure produced by these animals contains ca. 981 000 tons of nitrogen and 281 000 tons of phosphorus. Manure is an important organic fertiliser as well as a renewable energy resource, but is not always handled in an environmental-friendly way and thereby is a major contributor to the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.
Generally, manure should be handled in a sustainable cycle. This can be achieved by considering different practices collected and identified within the project.
Improved feeding strategies can reduce nutrient excretions. E.g.: dietary crude protein can be replaced by industrially produced amino acids resulting in a reduced use of soybean meal and thus reduced import of nutrients. Precise feeding strategies like phase feeding are important tools for reducing the need for imported feedstock.
N losses through NH3- volatilisation have to be minimised with incorporation/injection of manure or digestates into the soil or by quick collection of manure from animal houses to covered storages.
To achieve high nutrient uptake by plants and low leakage to water, manure application rates should be adjusted to the actual manure nutrient analysis and the nutrient status of the soil. To determine the P status of soils, BSR countries use different official standard methods.
Scientific Community, Policy-makers/RTD managers, Industry/enterprises
Especially in the BSR there is the need to implement practices and technologies to ensure a safe and sustainable use of the valuable resource manure. With view to plant nutrition, a balanced manure application can lead to reduced nutrient losses and thus, minimise the danger of the eutrophication of the BSR. At the same time, the need for mineral P fertilisers is reduced which helps to safe the finite rock phosphate. In addition, biogas production is the most mature technology for recovering manure energy and it offers multiple benefits as a renewable energy source by improving the nutrient utilisation of especially manure nitrogen and by offering means for emission mitigation.
The initiative was carried out through the involvement of several human resources, both at the administrative and scientific level.
Agricultural research locations for the soil sampling campaign were limited in number, thus results from different sites have been averaged. Since the average field size varies significantly among different countries, the standard routine for a uniform sampling procedure had to be adjusted to the prevailing conditions. Information on nutrient flows and balances was not available for the processing technologies under varying conditions. Such information, however, is needed in order to analyse whether the particular manure processing technologies are actually reducing the environmental impact of livestock production.
During the projects duration, the “Baltic Manure Handling Award” was awarded twice. The award exposed and promoted promising technologies in the field of manure management to the industry and public.
Different reports and scientific publications informed the scientific community about new findings within the fields of sustainable manure management and fertilising strategies.
Knowledge reports, newsletters and magazines transferred the project findings to the stakeholders, especially farmers and enterprises and included recommendations for a sustainable manure handling.
Within the framework of the annual conference “A Greener Agriculture for a Bluer Baltic Sea” the results and recommendations were presented to a large audience composed of scientists, farmers and politicians from different countries of the BSR.
Subsequently to the project “Baltic Manure”, the EU-Project “PROMISE” (Phosphorus Recycling of Mixed Substances) is implemented. The overall target of this project is to deliver strategies and tools for closing the P cycles in the BSR and reducing the discharge of P from agriculture into the Baltic Sea. The project covers numerous relevant aspects, which imply the sustainable and efficient production of P fertilisers by recycling adequate P-rich sources. At the same time the project will enhance innovative technology development and introduction of these technologies in a growing scale.
The results of the project have been described in different “Baltic Manure Knowledge Reports” which can be uploaded from the projects website. In addition, several articles have been published in scientific journals. In newsletters and press releases as well as on several international and national conferences and workshops the results and innovations were disseminated among stakeholders.