The Netherlands is faced with a growing excess of manure from intensive farming, with the surplus due to reach 8% by 2015, newspaper Trouw reports on Monday.
Quoting figures from the agricultural economic institute LEI, the paper says 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.
Waste from intensive chicken rearing is burned in incinerators, but pig slurry is 90% water, making disposal difficult. Factory farmers pay arable farmers to take over their manure – currently some €22 for a 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,’ farmer Jan Overeen tells Trouw.
The government has already introduced a ceiling on the number of pig farms in the Netherlands because of the manure problem, Trouw says.
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