Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina has teamed up with Rabobank and Lely for a pilot project aimed at reducing nitrogen emissions in dairy farms.
The partnership will see the installation of around 96 so called ‘Lely Spheres’ in dairy farms across all Dutch provinces to cut nitrogen emissions.
Martine Boon, deputy director food and agriculture at Rabobank, said, "Innovation is important for farmers, in order to become more sustainable and to continue farming. This initiative is not only a great collaboration but also one of the solutions to the current nitrogen problem.
"Rabobank is happy to contribute to this, in this case by offering an interest rebate and a grace period for the farmer. This gives them more financial space to become more sustainable."
Lely Sphere is a circular barn system that separates solid manure and urine and converts nitrogen emissions into fertiliser, which can be reused farmers for precision fertilisation on the land.
The system helps achieve ‘a more closed mineral cycle', according to the dairy giant, and reduces the use of artificial fertilisers. It cuts ammonia emissions by up to 70%, according to recent studies.
The barn system is officially recognised and is a part of the Dutch government's 2021 RAV (Regeling Ammoniak Veehouderij) list.
Hein Schumacher, CEO FrieslandCampina, said, "We always look at how we can contribute to making the sector more sustainable through technology. With the Lely Sphere we achieve an immediate and proven nitrogen reduction.
"We believe that this is a more sustainable and future-proof solution for the Netherlands than an expensive buy-out scheme. With this we want to encourage the government to take on this approach and invest in farmers who want to make their farm management more sustainable."
Dairy farmers can sign up to participate in the pilot programme, FrieslandCampina added.
The partners plan to install the first Lely Sphere after the summer and evaluste results of the pilot early next year.
André van Troost, CEO of Lely, said, "Instead of reducing livestock and compensating dairy farmers for this, we believe in investing in research and technical innovations to stimulate circular livestock farming and make agriculture more sustainable.
"With this partnership we make the investment in the Lely Sphere more accessible for farmers, enabling them to work towards a sustainable future for their business."