NOS Nieuws•morgen, 01:24
Technical equipment in livestock farming to reduce nitrogen emissions works less well than previously thought. This is evident from an as yet unpublished study by Wageningen University, reported by NRC and De Gelderlander. As a result, thousands of agricultural companies emit more nitrogen than permitted.
The research was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The results are painful for the cabinet and the agricultural sector. In the eyes of agricultural organizations such as LTO, technical measures are the solution to nitrogen problems. By using this equipment, forced herd reduction would not be necessary.
In order to achieve the halving of nitrogen emissions by 2030, efforts have been made to use these types of innovations and equipment. The government has reserved 1.2 billion euros for it.
The so-called low-emission stable floors of dairy farmers are particularly disappointing. In those floors, manure is quickly separated from the urine, but there is no evidence that this new technique works better than much older equipment. At poultry and pig farmers, the devices reduce emissions by a quarter to half less than claimed, the researchers say.
The study looked at how about forty new devices work, such as manure belts on which manure is dried. Thousands of farmers have analyzed how much nitrogen has been released from the manure. The systems must actually prevent emissions.
According to NRC, the results of the research lead to unrest among farmers who use these innovations. They fear that provinces can force them to keep fewer animals or revoke their permit if they emit more nitrogen than is allowed.
Provinces will not easily revoke permits on their own initiative, but they can be forced to do so through the courts. Environmental organization MOB previously forced the courts to have provinces carry out checks on farmers. As a result of the investigation, the organization is considering enforcing checks through the courts again.