The Microbiology Society is undertaking a project entitled A Sustainable Future as part of our 75th Anniversary, which aims to highlight the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to our members and empower them to use their research to evidence and impact the goals. Earlier this year, we put a call out to our members to submit case studies in the following three areas: antimicrobial resistance, soil health and the circular economy. This case study is written by Dr Achim Schmalenberger, who is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director, and Lea Deinert who is a researcher at the University of Limerick, Ireland. They are both members of the Microbiology Society. It focuses on Soil Health; maintaining the health of our soils has gained increasing prominence in recent years. Soils are essential for the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are put under pressure from population growth and climate change. Read More
The ReNu2Farm project is designed to increase the recycling rates for the plant nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the primary food production chain in Northwest Europe (NWE). Up to now, farmers have essentially been using artificial fertilisers, for which the EU is heavily dependent on imports. Moreover, the production of artificial fertiliser requires large amounts of energy. Paradoxically, however, there are several regions with a nutrient surplus in NWE. There are also technologies for recovering those nutrients, but until now they have remained little-used by farmers.
The project strives for an exchange of nutrients between the following countries: IE-UK, DE-NL and BE-FR. In each of these areas there are regions with nutrient shortages and surpluses. Nutrient-surplus regions in NWE include the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), Bretagne (France) and Ireland. The regions that have great potential to replace artificial fertilisers, due to their high use thereof, are located in Northern France, Wallonia (Belgium), the East of England and Ireland.
First of all, the researchers are investigating the precise current situation on nutrients and technologies in the field of nutrient recovery in NWE. They will then deploy these technologies in practice, for both the production and upcycling of products from recycled nutrients. The largest waste streams for producing these products are sewage sludge, food wastes and manure.
The scientists are considering possible market barriers. They will then adapt the products so that they more closely match the needs of users.
On the basis of desk studies and info sessions with farmers comes an assessment of the regional demand for nutrients and performances of the products. In order to determine the potential for replacement by recycled nutrients, the researchers are collecting information on current fertiliser use and the types of agriculture and crop rotations for each region. From the perspective of the legislation it is also important to know the impacts of the products on the soil and the environment.
Where there are markets for recycled nutrients, what their pricing looks like and what the attitude of farmers and the policy is with respect to them are still open questions right now. The researchers are assessing the economic market value of the products on the basis of production costs and interest amongst the stakeholders. They are identifying legal pressure points regarding conditions and requirements on fertilisation management and transport.
The collected knowledge and techniques are being fed back to the stakeholders via articles, workshops and demonstrations. This will help overcome the knowledge gap amongst farmers. By spreading information and success stories, but also by further expanding to other sectors and regions, farmers will become better able to apply larger amounts of recycled nutrients over the long term.
The long-term goal is for farmers in the involved regions to replace 2% (-108,000 tonnes N, -8,000 tonnes P, -120,000 tonnes K) of the artificial fertiliser with recycled nutrients within five years, and 6% (-324,000 tonnes N, -24,000 tonnes P, -360,000 tonnes K) after ten years.
View the benefits of our hightech field trial fertilizing machine for complex fertilization trialsReNu2Farm invests in a hightech field trial fertilizing machine for complex fertilization trials
University of Limerick
1 Plassey Park Road
Cork Institute of Technology
1 Rossa Avenue
ARVALIS Institut du végétal
3 rue Joseph et Marie HACKIN
Soil Concept S.A.
Outotec GmbH & Co. KG
Nutriënten Management Instituut BV
7c Nieuwe Kanaal
653 Campus Coupure, B6, Coupure Links
Institute of Technology Carlow
1 Kilkenny Road
17 Altenkesseler Str. , Building A1
17 Altenkesseler Str. , Building A1
|University of Limerick||Achim Schmalenbergeremail@example.com||Ireland|
|Cork Institute of Technology||Niamh Powerfirstname.lastname@example.org||Ireland|
|ARVALIS Institut du végétal||Alain BOUTHIERemail@example.com||France|
|Soil Concept S.A.||Marc Demoullingfirstname.lastname@example.org||Luxembourg|
|Outotec GmbH & Co. KG||Tanja Schaafemail@example.com||Germany|
|Nutriënten Management Instituut BV||Imke Harmsfirstname.lastname@example.org||Netherlands|
|Universiteit Gent||Ivona Sigurnjakemail@example.com||Belgium|
|Institute of Technology Carlow||Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte||Thomae.Kakouli@itcarlow.ie||Ireland|
With the ReNu2Farm project we aim to make recycling-derived fertilisers and their use more known among farmers. This also implies developing pratical guidelines and recommendations for farmers on how to use these novel fertilisers. Therefore, a handbook of good fertilization practice with recycling-derived fertilisers (RDFs) is currently under development in collaboration of the project partners Arvalis (FR), Inagro (BE) and NMI (NL). Read More
Arvalis’ research team has managed to deal with the restrictive sanitary situation to pursue the two field experiments initiated in 2019. Read More
The amendment to the German Fertilizer Ordinance was adopted at a special meeting of the Federal Council on March 27, 2020. With the introduction of the fertiliser package, especially livestock farms have to adapt. The further tightening of the fertiliser ordinance requires farmers to rethink. Read More
As it happens for the rest of the world, so the ReNu2Farm workers are also very much challenged by the current unprecedented situation. The ReNu2Farm partners at the Institute of Technology Carlow in Ireland were in the middle of collecting results on the project when the public health restrictions were implemented. Luckily, an experiment on possible ecotoxicological effects of the recycling derived fertilisers (RDF) that are the focus of the project, was just completed. Similarly, a major part of the analysis of the results generated from the Irish field trial, where the ecological impacts of RDF on soil bacteria, fungi and nematodes were investigated, was also completed. In IT Carlow, the project partners have undertaken the task to investigate and confirm the ecological and environmental safety of RDF. They do this by observing the effects of RDF on key soil microbiota. Read More
During the growth season of 2019, Inagro tested recycling-derived fertilisers (RDFs) at its field trial in maize in Wingene, Flanders. This year, the field trial continues in spinach. Once again, five RDFs (ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate, digestate from co-digestion of pig manure, liquid fraction of separated digestate and pig urine) are being compared with the use of mineral fertiliser CAN, pig manure and a blank treatment. Read More
The Interreg NWE ReNu2Farm project aims at increasing the recycling rates of plant nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). P and K are limited and finite resources, and production of N fertilisers is energy intensive. Despite a number of recovery technologies been at a mature stage, the use of recycling-derived fertiliser (RDF) products by farmers has been limited to date. The aim of ReNu2Farm is to put the farming community at the heart of the research, therefore stakeholder engagement is essential to the success of this project. As part of this stakeholder engagement, the ReNu2Farm team was involved with the anaerobic digestion and digestate demonstration, which took place on March 12th in Cork, Ireland. Read More
After Soil-Concept produced the ash from pure sewage sludge last year, it will now be tested in a field trial. Already last year, tests were carried out in small trials. Read More
In March 2020 two field experiments are laid out for the third and last year within the Netherlands (see pictures). The objective of the field experiments is to explore the effects of differences in organic matter input with animal manure, household waste compost (a recycling-derived fertilizer) and/or verge grass on soil quality (e.g. organic matter content and quality, water holding capacity, etc.), crop yield and N uptake of maize and on the risk of nitrate leaching (determined with nitrate in soil profile after harvest). The field experiments are located on sandy soils in the Province of Gelderland, near Wageningen. One field experiment was located on a sandy soil with a deep groundwater table (> 5 m; no irrigation) and the other one on a sandy soil with shallow groundwater table (> 1 m; with irrigation). Read More
In this last year of the Interreg NWE ReNu2Farm project, the bi-annual meeting between the European partners organised by Arvalis was held in France, at the Boigneville station in the Ile-de-France region. The Boigneville station on which approximately 150 employees are working, is the largest of the 27 Arvalis stations covering the French territory. Read More
The European Sustainable Nutrient Initiative - ESNI - will be back the next 27 October.
The first successful edition of ESNI provided a comprehensive overview on the opportunities and benefits of nutrient recycling to boost research, agriculture and sustainable development. The second edition reinforces this commitment.
We warmly invite you to the 18th International RAMIRAN conference to be held in the historic University city of Cambridge, UK, between the 14th and 17th September 2020. RAMIRAN “Recycling of Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial Residues in Agriculture Network” is a research and expertise network set up over 25 years ago to improve nutrient utilisation and minimise the environmental impact from livestock manure and other organic material use in agricultural systems. This conference was last held in 2017 and attracts up to 250 delegates from across Europe and further afield. RAMIRAN 2020 will be organised by ADAS, Rothamsted Research and Bangor University and held at the University of Cambridge in Eastern England, UK.
POTATO EUROPE (2nd & 3rd of September 2020) is the place to be for French and international professionals of the potato sector. This biannual international event will take place this year in Villers-Saint-Christophe in the North of France.
Biobased solutions for climate change
The 16th edition of the International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries will take place in Ghent, Belgium from Wednesday 3 June until Friday 5 June, 2020. Based on the previous RRB conferences, this conference is expected to welcome about 350 international participants from over 30 countries.
Delegates from university, industry, governmental and non-governmental organizations and venture capital providers will present their views on industrial biotechnology, sustainable (green) chemistry and agricultural policy related to the use of renewable raw materials for non-food applications and energy supply. The conference further aims at providing an overview of the scientific, technical, economic, environmental and social issues of renewable resources and biorefineries in order to give an impetus to the biobased economy and to present new developments in this area.
The conference will provide a forum for leading political, corporate, academic and financial people to discuss recent developments and set up collaborations.
The three day international conference will consist of plenary lectures, oral presentations, poster sessions and an exhibition. Companies and research organizations are offered the opportunity to organize a satellite symposium.
ReNu2Farm Seminar in the Learning Network of BSc and BSc (Hons) Sustainable Farm Management and Agribusiness in the Wexford Campus of the Institute of Technology Carlow, The Wexford Campus of the Institute of Technology Carlow
In the ReNu2Farm project partners are very much interested in developing, testing and evaluating recycling-derived fertilisers (RDF) and demonstrating their suitability to replace their conventional traded equivalents. In addition to those, they are also interested in communication of project work to relevant audiences. Such target groups also include the so called “learning networks” which are groups of people training in relevant areas.
One such expedition for outreach was undertaken on Tuesday 28 January 2020 by the ReNu2Farm Institute of Technology Carlow project manager, Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte.
ManuREsource is an international conference stimulating the exchange of experiences between regions on the policy measures taken for coping with manure surpluses, both in terms of manure management in a broad sense, and more specifically in terms of manure treatment.
Summer School: "Transition towards a more carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus efficient agriculture in Europe", Ghent, Belgium
The Summer School offers a comprehensive overview of the potential, technologies and applications of recycled fertilisers to move towards a more carbon and nutrient efficient agriculture in Europe. Lectures, workshops and excursions give the participants first-hand knowledge on current research topics.
Inagro is active in many themes and sectors. In our test fields we have a lot of research into new crops, techniques and innovations. In addition, we also have a wide range of services. With the unique demo day 'Inagro in the field!' we want to bundle and demonstrate our innovations and services at 1 location on plots of fellow farmers!
We look forward to welcoming you on Tuesday 10 September between 9.30 am and 5 pm. During this free experience day we give tips & tricks for your soil, fertilization and crop protection on 5 demonstration islands. Put together your own program and choose which demonstrations and information moments you want to attend.
The Founder Members Day of the Irish Nutrient Sustainability Platform took place on Tuesday 10th September, in Dublin, Ireland. The vision of the Platform is to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal agenda – with respect to food, waste, climate, economic development and protection of the environment – across the Island of Ireland through a stakeholder-led coalition.
At the St.-Amandshof the pioneering meeting "Environment and cycle economy in pig farming" took place, organized by the UGent-Crelan Chair on 3 September. Various themes related to pig farming were discussed: nutrient recovery, possible housing systems, alternative protein sources and various fertilizer substitutes.
During this information afternoon, UGent and Inagro gave a duo presentation about the use of VeDoWS manure in the pocket digester at Inagro.