CAP support funded a research project concerning the recycling of manure nutrients as fertiliser in Malta.
The entire area of Malta is designated as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone due to its high concentration of livestock and general population density. The majority of dairy and pig farms in Malta operate on small pieces of land and there are numerous challenges associated with the bulk storage, handling, and third-party export of this liquid waste. The Farmers Central Cooperative Society Ltd (FCCS) decided to embark on a research project that would explore the potential for recycling manure nutrients locally as fertiliser.
The facility can process up to 60 000m3/year of pig and cow slurry. It can recover irrigation water (50 % of slurry), organic matter (10 %) of a size equal to or greater than 100 micrometres to enhance soils, and liquid biomass (40 %) which is high in nutrients, and which is an ideal substitute for imported fertilisers.
The project developed an integrated nutrient management software tool which is ready for use.
The project demonstrated that anaerobic digestion helps to contain the size of the mobile plant, and that using regional biogas plants to treat slurry helps farmers to diversify their income.
Upon completion of the project, it will be possible to attain full circularity in the treatment of manure and enhance resource efficiency through the use of bio-fertiliser.