By Cameron Chai
In an endeavor to decrease the environmental impact of emissions from farms, Neiker-Tecnalia has set up a mobile laboratory. Neiker-Tecnalia is the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development. The Interreg Atlantic Area Programme is co-funding the initiative through the BATFARM European project.
A mobile laboratory
The mobile environmental monitoring unit will be used for evaluating the effect of ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions in situ that occur on the farms. The laboratory will function at a pig farm in Basque Country - Vitoria-Gasteiz. It has a variety of equipment for taking and maintaining the samples in optimal conditions. The in situ gas emissions will be monitored using a photoacoustic gas analyser. Different additives will be added to the stored slurry and their effectiveness in reducing or weakening greenhouse and ammonia gases are to be assessed.
The results derived from the study will be utilized for judging the impact of the best available techniques (BAT) in decreasing the environmental impact of the farm on soil and air. The project in total will assess the economical and environmental efficiency of the various technologies that are being used across the European Atlantic Area in poultry, cattle and pig farms.
Intensive poultry, cattle and pig farming models are being used in animal husbandry. While this provides good monetary benefits, it causes many problems for the environment. Polluting gases, including methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia are released into the atmosphere, and nitrates contaminate the water and soil. The BATFARM project is developing a method for evaluating the best technique for protecting the environment.
The Teagasc-The Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland, the Instituto Superior de Agronomía of Portugal, the University of Glasgow Caledonian in United Kingdom, the ITG Ganadero in Spain, and the Cemagref in France are other universities and research centers participating in the project.
Livestock farms, which have over 40,000 hens, 750 breeding sows or 2,000 fattening pigs are obliged to fulfill the 96/61/EC Directive. And if they implement the BAT, they will be provided with the integrated environmental authorization.