State of affairs of manure Processing in Flanders

Every year, the Flemish Coordination Centre for Manure Processing organizes an inquiry about the situation and evolution of the manure processing in Flanders. All data on 2020 can be found in the full report (only available in Dutch).


Summary results 2020

The results for 2020 show that 43.5 million kg nitrogen from animal manure was processed and/or exported. This corresponds to 4.6 million ton. Compared to 2019, this is a decrease of 6.3 million kg of nitrogen or 0.4 million tons of manure.This fall in manure processing in 2020 is partly due to reduced demand of agricultural products (chickens, mushrooms) due to catering closures during the lockdown (COVID-19).

Currently there are 143 operational manure processing installations in Flanders, of which the data of 137 installations were included in the report

Poultry manure retains the upper hand

90% of the 43.5 million kg of nitrogen processed in 2020 came from the processing and export of pig manure (18.8 million kg N or 43.4%) and the processiing and export of poultry manure (20.4 million kg N or 46.9%). Exports (in tonnage of raw manure) have increased for both types of manure. the processing (in tonnage) of pig manure has increased while the processing of poultry manure has decreased. Although both processing and export of pig manure have increased on the basis of tonnage, both have decreased on the basis of kg N. A more optimal feed conversion and feed technology improvements results in a decrease in th N content in pig manure.

The processing and export of cattle and calf manure decreased by 6% compared to 2019, while the import of cattle manure has also decreased (from 55 826 tons to 24 130 tons). The processing of the solid fraction of cattle manure has also decreased by 77%. The export of raw cattle manure to the Netherlands did increase by 25%. The processing of a thin fraction of cattle manure has also increased (12.5%), as has the processing of cattle manure (3%).

In addition, the processing of digestate increased by 3.9%. Horse manure processing and exports and mushroom post processing decreased by 60.2% and 56.3% respectively in 2020, mainly caused by COVID-19, as less mushroom substrate was produced due to reduced mushroom demand due to the catering closures.

Techniques in Flanders

In Flanders, biological manure processing in which nitrogen is removed from the liquid fraction of pig manure, cattle manure and/or digestate is still the most commonly applied technique (108 of 137 installations). In 2020 even 5 new biological manure processing installations became operational. Organic manure processing is still a Best Available Technology (see BAT Manure processing). The second most used technique in Flanders is biothermal drying (16 installations, of which 3 installations also dry and granulate the end product). In the past year, 1 biothermal drying installation was added in Flanders. In 2020, 4 companies (3 biothermal drying installations, 1 filtration) have stopped or were temporarily not operational.

In 2020, the largest amount of nitrogen (15.6 million kg N or 42.6%) was processed via the biological processing of the liquid fraction of pig manure, cattle manure or digestate. Via the biothermal drying of mainly poultry manure, horse manure, the solid fraction of pig manure and the solid fraction of cattle manure, 15.3 million kg of N (41.8%).

The largest amount of phosphate (12.2 million kg P2O5 or 77%) is processed via the biothermal drying.

A detailed report (in Dutch) on the results of the inquiry on 2020 can be found here.