Farmers’ innovative management peat meadow land ensures a 22% ammonia reduction

Dairy farmers in the western peat meadow land are able to reduce 22% of their farm's ammonia emissions - and as a result their nitrogen emissions - with relatively simple measures. This has become clear from the Testing Ground Peat Meadows Programme. The result was reached by, among other things, diluting the farm manure and by lowering the crude protein content in the fodder.

The Testing Ground Peat Meadows Programme was initiated three years ago by LTO Noord in collaboration with the Veenweide Innovation Centre (VIC) Zegveld and financed by the Province of Zuid-Holland. In the programme 10 pilot businesses worked with the researchers and supervisors on ammonia reducing measures. In addition, 100 farmers in development teams learned from the pilot farmers’ experiments. The result comes at a relevant moment; the search for measures to reduce nitrogen emissions is in full swing. The pilot shows that it is possible.

Fertilisation and fodder

The average ammonia reduction at the pilot farms is 22% in three years. The greatest ammonia reduction realised by a farmer in three years is 55%. One of the measures taken is diluting the farm manure with water, which results in less ammonia formation and a better integration of the nitrogen in the soil. The moment of fertilisation proved to have a positive effect as well; for instance: when it rains and the sun does not shine. Another 10% ammonia reduction is possible by changes in the fodder rations; less feed concentrates (crude protein) and more pasturing. The measures not only lead to lower ammonia emissions; one of the experiments in the testing ground shows that diluting the farm manure also results in a higher grass yield as a result of a better use of nitrogen.

Innovative approach pays off

Minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture): “Farmers also face various challenges in nature and climate objectives. The reduction of emissions at farms is of enormous help in that. The innovative management of dairy farmers in the Veenweiden Testing Ground shows that it is possible to reduce the ammonia emissions at dairy farms. A fine example of entrepreneurship and a welcome contribution to the transition to circular agriculture.” Regional Minister Adri Bom-Lemstra (Agriculture and Horticulture) seconds that and calls the results hopeful. “With nitrogen being in the news as it is soon leads to calls for a reduction in farms. These results show that we can achieve a lot by changing farm management. That calls for guts and I am glad that these 10 farmers had plenty of that. I hope that the industry will widely embrace this approach.”

About the testing ground

The Veenweiden Testing Ground is a three-year innovation programme. The Testing Ground is an initiative of LTO Noord and VIC Zegveld. The programme is being implemented by LTO Noord, Wageningen University & Research, VIC Zegveld, PPP-Agro Advice and the Louis Bolk Institute.

More information and detailed reports (in Dutch) at

Peat meadow land