Livestock Manure – A Valuable Resource
Alphagalileo.org, June 14th
In the EU-funded project BioEcoSIM, 15 partners from 5 countries – led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB – aim to convert livestock manure into organic soil amendment (biochar) and mineral fertilisers
Large quantities of livestock manure accumulate during the course of pig rearing, poultry production and cattle farming. This manure is an important agricultural fertiliser due to its high nutrient content. However, since the composition of the livestock manure varies depending on the type of animal, feed and storage, it does not permit fertilisation that precisely meets the plant nutrient requirements. As a result, more livestock manure is frequently applied to the fields than the plants actually require. Excess, dissolved nutrients leach into ground and surface water and contribute to the eutrophication of waters. The fact that antibiotics are being used to an increasing extent in livestock farming is also an argument against the application of livestock manure over large areas.
Coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, the partners aim to convert the constituents of livestock manure into various fertilisers: biochar as phosphorous-rich organic soil amendment as well as mineral fertilisers such as ammonium sulphate, calcium phosphate and magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite).
- The products are mixed to a nutrient composition depending on the plant species and soil conditions and can be used as easy-to-dose fertilisers for agricultural purposes, explains Sukhanes Laopeamthong, who is coordinating the project at the Fraunhofer IGB.
- This prevents overfertilisation. Also, there is a reduction in the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, the production of which requires a very large amount of energy.