News 933 views last update:Jul 9, 2008

Dutch farmers facing pig waste problems

The Netherlands is faced with a growing excess of manure from intensive farming, with the surplus due to reach 8% by 2015, Dutch newspaper Trouw has reported.

Tougher rules
Figures quoted from the agricultural economic institute LEI, say tougher environmental rules mean farmers can spray even less manure on their fields than they used to, while the quantity of manure being produced is going up.
At the moment, farmers are allowed to spread 85 kg of manure per hectare of land. But because farmland can only absorb 60 kg of waste, that figure is being reduced.

Whilst waste from intensive chicken rearing is burned in incinerators, pig slurry is 90% water, making disposal difficult. Factory farmers pay arable farmers to take over their manure - currently paying €22 per cubic metre.

Cubic metre
A pig being raised for meat will produce one cubic metre of manure in its lifetime. 'If you've got more than 20,000 pigs, it mounts up,' states one Dutch farmer. The government has already introduced a ceiling on the number of pig farms in the Netherlands because of the manure problem, it is reported.

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