First, the bad news: Information released by DEFRA on 15th February 2018 draws attention to rising ammonia emissions and their detrimental impact on human health, ecosystems and farming.
The announcement said, “Emissions from agriculture accounted for 88 per cent of total ammonia emissions in 2016 and are the main driver for the emissions increase observed in the last three reported years. The increase in agricultural emissions over this period is mainly due to the manure management of larger dairy herds and an increase from spreading of fertilisers.”
Silver lining for farmers
Unusually, this problem conceals a valuable silver lining for livestock farmers, made up of:
lower fertiliser use and cost, while growing as much or more higher quality grass,
a predicted 27% reduction in ammonia emissions from cattle farms, and
improved soil health, higher soil organic matter, and healthier crops.
Pioneer farmers like James Rogerson and the Hall family in Lancashire have reported up to a 50% reduction in their use of nitrogen fertiliser. Clearly, this saves £-thousands.
The trick is microbiological treatment of slurry stores that captures ammonia, reducing its emission to the atmosphere. The treatment, known as SlurryBugs™, can also minimise crusting and sludge sediment, creating a consistent easy-flowing liquid, and minimise offensive odours when spreading.
This comes about through marked reductions in ammonia and other strong-smelling gases such as hydrogen sulphide.
Evidence that treatment improves slurry
Proving the impact of biological slurry treatments, samples analysed independently by NRM show significant differences between raw and SlurryBugstreated samples for average solids, total nitrogen (N), ammonium, and other nitrogen (i.e. total N minus ammonium).
Envirosystems founder Liz Russell has written to Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove stating the case and seeking the Government’s support to help farmers reduce ammonia emissions significantly from livestock units.
Meanwhile, aided by FREE slurry analysis, every new user of SlurryBugs makes their own contribution and reaps the benefits for themselves. For more information contact our farm support team on 01772 860085 or visit www.slurrybugs.co.uk.