The use of new types of drinkers can reduce the volume of purines
The farms of the pig sector in Catalonia that have modified their feeding systems and have begun to use new types of drinking fountains have achieved reductions of up to 50% in the volume generated of the slurry.
In the course of the four years that the Life + Futuro Agrario project has lasted, close to 100 technical conferences have been organized, with the assistance of 6,500 farmers, breeders, technical advisors, students, etc. who have known first hand the most effective tools to improve the management of livestock droppings.
The transfer of this knowledge has been possible thanks to the wide range of technological solutions and the various scientific knowledge that has been tested in the framework of this project.
The first action has been designed to explain different options to improve the management of livestock droppings on pig farms.
The choice of drinking fountains in pig farms
Together with the University of Lleida and the Porcine Studies Center, during the project years, 26 types of swine from pig farms were characterized. The different types with which they have worked (materials, dimensions, regulation mechanisms) have been described and tests have been done varying flows and pressures. These actions have been carried out on pig farms where reductions of up to 50% in the volume generated of slurry have been achieved.
Currently, many of the pig farms in Catalonia have adopted these techniques with very substantial reductions in the volumes of slurry generated.
Changes in pig diets and a new method of nitrogen balance in pig farms
The tests carried out during the project in the IRTA Experimental Station of Monells and in several commercial farms have shown that changing the feed is possible to generate less slurry and excrete less nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals without affecting the production or the quality of the channel.
In this line, a very high number of farms in the pig sector in Catalonia have already modified their feeding systems. In parallel, we are working with a pioneering methodology in Spain, based on a balance of inputs and outputs, to know the amount of nitrogen excreted in each farm.
The high concentration of livestock in certain areas has caused DARP to bet during the last few years on some systems of solid-liquid separation, used to convert the slurry (a fertilizer that still contains too much water and, therefore, expensive transport) in a solid fraction (which contains a lot of organic matter, phosphorus and a part of nitrogen, and is profitable to transport) and a liquid fraction (with much of the nitrogen and potassium of the initial slurry, and which can be applied near the same farm) .
During the project years, tests were carried out in 9 livestock farms that had the main types of separators existing in the market and the separation yields that can be obtained from these systems have been determined if working in optimum conditions. Thus, in static and pressure separators it is possible to separate up to 20% of the nitrogen from the initial flurry in the final solid fraction, while in the case of using centrifugal systems these figures can be increased up to 50%.
Currently, there are around 160 solid-liquid separators in Catalonia, a tool practically non-existent when the project began.