New fertiliser system should be simpler and more environmentally friendly

The Dutch manure system is being tackled thoroughly. It needs to be simplified “and do justice to the challenges faced by farmers“. That is what Minister Schouten writes in a vision, which she has sent to the Lower House.

As far as Schouten is concerned, there will soon be two ways left to deal with manure. Dairy and beef farmers will have to spread all their manure on their own land or near a farm. They can make agreements about this among themselves. Pig and goat farmers who are unable to dispose of their manure in the neighbourhood will also be given the option of taking it to a manure processor.

The manure system has to be shovelled because of the regulatory pressure and the susceptibility to fraud. “When I took office as minister, I soon found out that the manure system is incredibly complicated,” says Schouten. “I want to change that.” She also wants to do “justice to the environmental challenges we face”.

Spreading manure on the land of the farmer or a colleague in the neighbourhood fits in with Schouten’s plans for recycled agriculture. Substances should be reused as much as possible in the same area.

With her new manure policy, Schouten wants to tackle the manure surplus and improve water quality. If that water quality remains poor in certain areas, she wants to be able to intervene.