AGRAVIS presents the solution to managing nutrient
What actually happens with liquid manure? How can you prepare liquid manure and where can it be used profitably? These were just some of the queries in the focus at the media conference on Meeting the Challenge of Surplus Nutrients put on by AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG.
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Reporters from local and national media, including dailies, agricultural sheets and radio editorial departments, took a peek behind the scenes of a biogas plant that is primarily fed with liquid manure and dung.
"We want to throw a little bit of light on the subject of nutrient management because it's still relatively new in agriculture and still a challenge to a lot of agriculturists, especially in tillage regions," said Bernd Homann. He ought to know because he is the manager of corporate communication at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG. He was also glad that a lot of people came to their event because AGRAVIS notices again and again that the intricacies of farming are a total mystery to people from outside. Bernd goes on to say, "for a lot of people the issues from the agribusiness seem to be totally abstract. That's why we decided to open up our doors and show people how biogas is generated from organic fertiliser right where it is done.
To make sure reporters don't just get a lot of theoretical mumbo-jumbo, we gave them the opportunity to take a tour through the biogas plant. They took a look at the most important stages such as the control station, substrate reception, feeding, the block-type thermal power stations or gas preparation.
Some solutions to the problem of nutrient management
The focus of this conference was the integral strategy for utilising surplus organic fertiliser for the Münsterland tillage region. Ludger Leifker, who is the AGRAVIS general representative for feed, provided the explanation for AGRAVIS wanting to support agriculturists with this problem: "We set ourselves the standard of delving into all of the processes modern agriculturists are faced with. As one of the biggest producers of feed in the country, we believe we are called upon to provide farms with the solutions they face in nutrient management." That's why the corporate group set up the ODAS GmbH Joint Company at the beginning of 2015 because it only deals with is nutrient management. It is in charge of advising agriculturists and providing them documentation while processing and transporting liquid manure.
This is how Ludger sees it: "We're not just concerned with transporting liquid manure from A to B." These approaches are an individualised form of consultation on nutrients for operations with low-cost custom-made solutions.
Processes from the Farm to the Field
Steffen Schirmacher-Rohleder and Torsten Smit are the managing directors at ODAS GmbH. He explained to reporters what really happens from the farm to the field. He started off by pointing out that the first step is always doing all-round stock-taking of the situation at the agriculturist's operation. That enables us to find a solution that is just right for the specific needs of the farm. The agriculturist makes a detailed analysis of the on-site situation before making any decision on how and how much liquid manure or dung should be taken from the operation and used in something like the biogas plant in Dorsten for generating energy. After processing in the biogas plant, the ferment residues are either transported by truck or ship to the cultivating regions.
Then Dr. Philipp Spinne, the managing director at TerraSol organic fertiliser GmbH, provided an impression of the processes in and functioning of the biogas plant. He pointed out that it was not a question of operating a biogas plant, but a nutrient plant: That's why he said that "our approach says that the plant should run with 80 percent of organic fertiliser. At full-load operation, we want to feed in 700 standard cubic meters of biomethane every hour and also add 700 kilowatts of electricity on an annual average with our block-type thermal power stations".
Interview: From the Stall to the Field
What are you going to do with the liquid manure and dung? That is the focus of a lot of farms these days. The quantity of organic fertiliser has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years and certain regions of Germany because of the boost in tillage and bioenergy . Also, factors such as the re-enactment of the Dung Ordinance exacerbate the situation at these operations. ODAS GmbH, a joint company of ODAS GmbH & Co. KG and AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG, wants to support agriculturists which why it is offering a new strategy for nutrient management. Steffen Schirmacher-Rohleder, the managing director at ODAS GmbH, explains what steps should be taken for using liquid manure.
Steffen, "what is meant by ODAS GmbH's strategy ?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: "The idea behind AGRAVIS-ODAS's strategy is transporting organic fertiliser from surplus regions to regions where it is needed. But, our strategy means a lot more than just transporting liquid manure from A to B. Agriculturists are given individualised and comprehensive consultation at their farms before anyone is even thinking about transporting liquid manure and dung."
What does that mean in practical terms?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: The first step is AGRAVIS's feed consultant discussing what the situation looks like at the specific agricultural operation. We call this surveying the nutrient situation at the overall operations after which a nutrient balance sheet is put together in accordance with the legal specifications This shows you where the farm might be able to save money. After all, if there isn't any accumulation, there's nothing to be disposed of. The next step is how to exploit the surplus nutrient carrier. This demonstrates the various options for the farm and the way products are exploited as well as the costs of each. Top of our list is making sure that all consultation is tailor-made for the operation because requirements differ for every operation.
Where do we go from here?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: Now, we pick up the surplus liquid manure from agricultural operations where either the liquid manure or just the solid components can be transported. Then, the liquid manure is separated where the liquid and solid components of the liquid manure are separated from one another. We also offer this service depending upon what each operation needs. Afterwards, one example is transporting the liquid manure to the biogas plant in Dorsten where it is used for generating energy.
What precisely is it that is transported to the recipient regions?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: That's the fermentation substrate. That's what stays in the fermenter after being used. Then it is transported to the recipient regions by truck or ship.
By the way, what are recipient regions precisely?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: First of all, recipient regions are field husbandry regions where animal husbandry is not a major factor. We transport our organic fertiliser all over the region over a radius of 100 to as much as 300 kilometres.
How does the organic fertiliser make it to the agricultural operations?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: We rely on our longstanding relationships with our customers and AGRAVIS's major network. We can take advantage both of our logistical structures and marketing avenues with regional co-operatives and AGRAVIS's agricultural centres. Our sales staff are in direct contact with the agriculturists in the recipient regions and that's where they get custom-made and comprehensive consultation before using the organic fertiliser.
How is it transported to the fields?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: by truck - the organic fertiliser is supplied directly to the edge of the field for on-site preparation. We are also supported with a software that enables us to see the fields by satellite view as well other things. That gives us a overview of the situation beforehand.
Does that conclude the process of from the stall to the field?
Schirmacher-Rohleder: Well, not entirely. One very important element of our work is documentation and this is something we do for the agriculturists. In other words, we put together a delivery note for nutrient management and make an entry according the Wirtschaftsdüngernachweisverordnung NRW (North-Rhine Westphalian Ordinance for Organic Fertiliser Documentation). That's very important step especially for the Chamber of Agriculture.