Reducing the environmental impact in animal farms

NEIKER-Tecnalia  coordinates  the European project BATFARM, which aims to create a scientific protocol to evaluate the techniques used for farming. This is intended to lessen the environmental impact on the water and air.

This project will receive a system of objective assessment of the environmental and economic efficiency of environmental technologies implemented in farms of European Atlantic Area. To do so,  a detailed study of a series of such farms from different regions of the Atlantic Area will be carried out.  Along with NEIKER-Tecnalia , Teagasc, The Agriculture and Food Development Authority-(Ireland), Cemagref (France), ITG Livestock (Spain), Glasgow Caledonian University (UK) and the Higher Institute of Agronomy (Portugal)are taking part in this project.

This initiative is framed within the Transnational Cooperation Operational Programme Atlantic Area 2007-2013, is particularly interesting on the western edge of Europe. In this area of ​​the continent, a considerable part of livestock production is carried out under an intensive production model, such as pigs, poultry and most of the cattle. Thus the problem of livestock waste management is common to all regions involved in the project.

The intensive production model has a significant economic returns, but has many environmental problems such as greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere (ammonia, nitrous oxide and methane) and soil and water pollution by nitrates. Once the project is finished, its results will be of great interest to farmers, who may well choose, within the set of technologies to reduce pollution, the most appropriate for their farms. In this regard, members develop a software project BATFARM for the selection of the best environmental techniques in livestock waste.

The project results will be communicated to different stakeholders, businesses, livestock management bodies, political decision-making bodies, research centers and universities, end users and the general public.

Directive for the adoption of Best Available Techniques

In relation to the environmental problems arising from livestock production, the European Directive 96/61/EC, also known as IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control), aims to regulate all forms of air emission, water and soil from intensive livestock farms (farms with a population of over 40,000 hens, 2000 fattening pigs or 750 sows), and requires obtaining integrated environmental authorization. The Directive proposes the adoption of Best Available Techniques (BAT), so that farmers must choose and implement the technologies available in the market and that are economically viable for exploitation, with the ultimate goal of preventing or limiting emissions.