Compliance to meet ammonia regulations comes with a cost

Reducing ammonia emissions from pig units under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations coming into force next year could leave some businesses facing high capital costs and other challenges.

Philip Huxtable, director of arable operations at East Yorks-based JSR Farms, calculates the cost to cover outdoor slurry stores to cut ammonia emissions could reach 45,000 for a standard 18m silo.

“The IPPC framework agreed by government aims to cut ammonia emissions from livestock housing by 20% and from manure spreading by 30% by 2010 – but that will come at a cost,” he told delegates at the company’s conference in Notts.

Mr Huxtable suggested silo cover costs for the business vary from tarpaulin circus tops at 22,000-25,000 fitted, plastic-coated tin sheet roofs at 35,000-40,000, rising to GRP covers at 45,000.

An extra 5000 a store may be needed to strengthen silos for the extra weight of a roof.

“And yes I am worried; we have 16 such stores on our units,” he said.

Applying manure will also create problems.

The mixed farm business favours umbilical spreading using a dribble bar or small-fan dispenser on its chalk-based arable soils.

“There is a push towards direct injection but the likely damage to soil structure from these heavy machines fills me with a certain dread,” he told delegates.

Asked whether he agreed with industry estimates suggesting compliance for qualifying units – particularly those with more than 750 sow places or 2000 finishing places over 30kgs – could be 3p/kg of finished pigmeat, Mr Huxtable said it could be likely.

However, he had not calculated IPPC’s impact to that degree.

Although IPPC appeared daunting, he urged producers to keep matters simple.

“It will be monitored by Environment Agency staff so be prepared, have records ready to hand and hopefully they’ll tick boxes and move on to someone else.”