17 April 1997

Ammonia rules may hit slurry

EU proposals to limit ammonia emissions will severely hit beef and dairy farms in the next five to 10 years.

So said Farm and Rural Conservation Agency pollution adviser, Alan Brewer, who warned that the proposals focus on handling of manure and slurry. "Even if ammonia losses from storage are controlled, significant ammonia losses result from application techniques."

The proposals may impose yearly average 250kg N/ha (200 units/acre) limit on grassland, he suggested. Overall, applications must not exceed the nutrient requirements of the crop.

Producers will be forced to accurately assess slurry and manure nutrient values.

"Over the next five to 10 years we can expect to see changes to handling and storage for manure and slurry to meet EU legislations. Eventually, it will require changes to livestock housing. But, these are only proposals at this stage."

The EU has until Jan 1999 to impose a ceiling on national emissions. The UK cattle industry accounts for 56% of the countrys total annual 230 kilo-tonne emission, he said.

Almost 40% of that portion of ammonia emission comes from livestock housing, while manure and slurry application accounts for 30%, and storage 9%.

"These losses are outside EU legislation at present but that will change." &#42