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FAirWAY: Survey on the use of farm manure (2/2)

FAirWAY: Survey on the use of farm manure (2/2)

The joint project farm manure management investigates how much of the farm manure accumulating in the west can be transported to the southeast in an environmentally-sound way, to substitute mineral fertilizers and close the nutrient cycle on a supra-regional scale. To figure out how farmers in the southeast think about this idea, 2016 a big survey was launched. Results of ca. 250 questionnaires show that about 80 % of the farmers have experiences in using farm manure and also want to continue using it. Most important are digestates being produced in regional biogas plants. Some farms also make use of locally available sewage sludge, horse manure or compost. Slurry from the west is of minor importance. Most farmers generally believe to save costs by substituting mineral fertilizers with farm manure, to increase the organic matter content in the soil and thus improve soil fertility. However, heavy machines used for the application can lead to soil compaction. Another problem is that nutrient contents in organic fertilizers can vary tremendously. Up to now no recognised certification system exists. Therefore most farmers prefer long-term cooperations with farmers they know in person and whom they can trust. Also the support of the public is important for the arable farmers. Up to know complaints by neighbours and negative media coverage prevent many farms from again fertilizing with with farm manure. Thus, it is crucial to approach each other openly and to build mutual understanding.