Time to think about reducing your farm emissions?

The UK has committed to international targets to reduce emissions of five of the most damaging air pollutants; these include ammonia. One of the key targets is to reduce ammonia emissions by 16% by 2030. This will affect the agricultural industry in terms of management regimes and improvements to on-farm infrastructure, but advice and support are available.

  • Agriculture accounts for 88% of UK ammonia emissions, including from storage and spreading of manures and slurries, and the application of inorganic fertilisers.
  • Ammonia damages sensitive natural habitats
  • Ammonia contributes to particulate pollution in urban areas, which is bad for human health.

Defra’s Code of Good Agricultural Practice has been produced to help farmers understand the options for how to reduce ammonia emissions. These include covering slurry and digestate stores and using low emission spreading equipment such as a trailing shoe or injector instead of a splash plate.

The Government has also published the Clean Air Strategy which has laid out what action agriculture needs to take to reduce ammonia emissions and there are some really significant changes the industry needs to prepare for including:

  • Incorporating solid manures on cultivated land within 12 hours.
  • Low emissions spreading by 2025.
  • Cover slurry and digestate stores by 2027.
  • Design standards for livestock housing.
  • Extension of environmental permitting to dairy and intensive beef by 2025.

Countryside Stewardship is available to support farm businesses achieve these aims in some areas, with a proposed new Slurry Investment Scheme, currently being developed by Defra.

To help you understand why it is important and how to reduce ammonia in agriculture, see this introductory video and further videos on sustainable food production.

On 7th September 2021 Anglia Rural Consultants in partnership with Cambridge University hosted Farming for Clean Air – reducing emissions from slurry and digestate at Cambridge University Park Farm, Madingley, Cambridge.

The event included:

  • Working demonstrations on slurry and digestate application by tanker or umbilical, using trailing shoe and dribble bar applications
  • A tour around Cambridge University’s new AD plant and slurry/digestate store
  • Talk on future regulatory changes and potential measures to meet the new requirements by independent consultant Dr. Mary Dimambro
  • Talk on future grants to support farmers to meet future legislation by Patrick Welsh of Catchment Sensitive Farming
  • Introductions to exhibitors who have the equipment, knowledge and skills to guide you.

BASIS points applied for.

BBC Radio 4 Farming Today interview from the Farming for Clean Air event

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The Reducing emissions from agriculture presentation

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