LIFE+Farms for the future - Farms for the future: Innovation for sustainable manure management from farm to soil

LIFE12 ENV/ES/000647

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Jaume BOIXADERA
Fax: 34973249403
Email: jaume.boixadera@gencat.cat

Project description:


Pork industries are important to many local economies in Spain. However, pig farming generates slurry waste containing high levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen. Inappropriate management of this waste stream can lead to pollution of surface water, ground water and air, especially in areas of high production. This can cause significant damage to local ecosystems through processes such as eutrophication of waterways.

At the same time, there is increasing understanding of the important ecological services provided by certain forms of land use. For example, areas of forest and peatland act as important carbon sinks, removing CO2 from the atmosphere and mitigating climate change. Planting trees and other crops can also be important for extracting nutrients from the soil, preventing soil erosion and protecting and increasing biodiversity.

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a key target for tackling climate change. The EU targets 20% of energy generation from renewable sources by 2020. Biogas, produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of organic matter, can be an important form of renewable energy.


The project aims to minimise the extent of nutrient excess in soils caused by the pig farming sector by acting in three main places: in pig farms; in field application of manure; and in soils affected by agricultural nutrient excess. It aims to show that successful solutions can improve soil quality, whilst also delivering important additional environmental benefits.

Specific sub-objectives include:

  • Minimising the quantity of nutrients from manure exiting pig farms in the wastewater. It will apply techniques for optimising water use and improving waste treatment;
  • Improving the efficiency of manure application in the field through the introduction of Best Available Technologies (BATs). The project will implement decision-making tools for initial fertilisation stages and advanced tele-detection techniques to determine manure application; and
  • It will work to extract agricultural nutrient excess that is already present in soils, using catch crops, forest plantations and riparian buffers, which should naturally manage nutrient levels.
  • The project thus hopes to reduce nutrient excess in the soils and restore soil quality and functions. Plant growth should contribute to an imporved natural environment and some CO2 extraction as well as providing a source of biofuel as a renewable energy source.

    The project hopes to demonstrate the transferability of the proposed manure treatment and application technologies by showing that they are environmentally friendly and economically efficient. The project thus expects to contribute to the successful implementation of the EU soil strategy, which aims to protect and ensure the sustainable use of soil by preserving soil functions, preventing threats to soil, mitigating their negative effects and restoring degraded soils.

    Expected results: Successful demonstration of best practice for managing waste from pig farms to avoid excess nutrients in soil, delivering at least:

  • A 20% saving in water and nutrient output of pig farms;
  • A 25% reduction in the effective area of manure application;
  • A 10% reduction in management costs for manure application;
  • Successful growth of areas of catch crops, forest and riparian buffers; and
  • A 20% increase in biogas production.



Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Agricultural waste
Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry


agricultural waste‚  clean technology‚  waste recycling‚  manure

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Departamento de Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural de la Generalitat de Catalunya
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The Departamento de Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural de la Generalitat de Catalunya (DAAM) is the Department of Agriculture, Cattle, Fishing, Food and the Natural Environment of the Regional Government of Catalonia.
Partners Agència de Residus de Catalunya, Spain Centre De La Propietat Forestal, Spain Instituto de Investigaciones y Tecnologías Agroalimentarias, Spain Fundació Mas Badia, Spain


Project reference LIFE12 ENV/ES/000647
Duration 10-SEP-2013 to 09-MAR -2018
Total budget 2,367,610.00 €
EU contribution 1,177,877.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Video link "Explotacions agràries per al futur: Innovació per a la gestió sostenible de la fertilització des de la granja fins al sòl" (15', in Catalan)
Video link "Explotaciones agrarias para el futuro: Innovación para la gestión sostenible de la fertilización desde la granja hasta el suelo" (15')
Video link "Farms for the future: Innovation for sustainable fertilisation management from farm to soil" (15')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version