Manure in Catalonia and Anoia

Livestock manure
WRITTEN BY Roger Carles i Tort
12 Apr, 2022 — 4 min
Manure in Catalonia and Anoia

In July 2019, Decree 153/2019 on the management of soil fertilization and livestock manure was approved. This Decree aims, among other things, to organize and respond to the problem of manure in Catalonia.

It is known that the relationship between the production of nitrogen from livestock waste and the pollution of the subsoil and aquifers has a very delicate balance. It is also known that if responsibilities are sought on either side, no clear causes will be found, as there are areas in Catalonia that are saturated with nitrogen, yet there is no livestock presence.

Therefore, this Decree aims to organize the territory based on a specific nitrogen load and, from there, use livestock waste as a fertilizer with more or less intensity depending on the area. Next, I will try to highlight those aspects that help to understand this Decree better.

An important point is to have control of the traceability of the applications of livestock waste to crops and ensure that there is no duplication of receiving lands and, therefore, no nitrate oversaturation in the subsoil. This point includes monitoring with GPS, according to a regime of distances established by the competent administration between the farm where the manure is generated and the crop where it is applied. This GPS will be associated with the transport vehicle and will transmit the data in real-time to ensure that the necessary nitrogen doses are applied to the crop and avoid over-fertilization.

In areas saturated with nitrates, which complicate the balance between the nitrogen load generated by livestock farms and the number of hectares available for application as fertilizer, an improvement in the origin of livestock waste is proposed, using sufficiently efficient treatment systems to reduce this nitrogen load. The concentration of nutrients in the solid fraction is also promoted to reduce the amount of water to transport and thus make a product attractive to be transported over longer distances.

In Anoia, as a region, even though some municipalities are already exceeding acceptable nitrogen concentration values, we are deficient in nitrogen load of organic (animal) origin, and therefore, this Decree does not affect us in a special way. However, it should ensure that the manure that reaches us from long distances is also applied correctly.

In short, this Decree aims to guarantee the correct application of livestock manure as an organic fertilizer and that this does not further detriment the environmental sustainability that this problem generates if done in an uncontrolled manner.