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 2021 can be found in the full report (only available in Dutch).

Summary results 2021

The results for 2021 show that about 4 250 857 tonnes of livestock manure was processed in Flanders. This tonnage represents 39.8 million kg of nitrogen that was processed from livestock manure. In 2020, there were 4 632 182 tonnes (or 43 474 955 kg N) processed.

Flanders currently has 142 operational manure processing plants. For 5 installations, VCM does not have data. All data in this survey refers to 137 installations.

Pig and poultry manure

Based on the amount of nitrogen processed, 88.9% of manure processing was achieved through the processing and export of pig and poultry manure, with 17.1 million kg N (43.0%) and 18.3 million kg N (45.9%), respectively. In terms of tonnages, 2 812 050 tonnes of pig manure was processed (66.2%) and 602 041 tonnes of poultry manure (14.2%). Compared to 2020, operational processing, excluding exports, of poultry manure decreased by 60 619 tonnes. Operational processing, excluding exports, of pig manure also decreased by 355 914 tonnes. Direct exports of raw pig manure increased by 3% (+5 168 tonnes). The direct exports of raw poultry manure decreased by 3.2% (-5 588 tonnes).

Cattle manure

In 2021, processing and export of cattle manure, including calf manure, increased by 38 849 tonnes. Imports of cattle manure from the Netherlands remained quasi unchanged, increasing by only 1% (+ 281 tonnes) compared to 2020. Processing of the thick fraction of cattle manure increased by 24% (+ 3 298 tonnes), after a sharp decrease of 77% in 2020 compared to 219. Exports of raw cattle manure to the Netherlands increased by 32% (25 733 tonnes). Processing of thin fraction of cattle manure increased again by 7% (+ 15 864 tonnes), while processing of cattle manure fell down by 16% (- 7 123 tonnes).

Horse manure and champost

Horse manure processing and export and champost processing increased by 19 671 tonnes (+8.3%) and 401 tonnes (+8%), respectively. In 2020, compared to 2019, a large decrease in horse manure and champost processing and export due to the closure of the hospitality sector as a result of COVID-19. Despite increasing processing of champost, imports still decreased from 9024 tonnes to 8 544 tonnes. Imports of horse manure increased by 36 294 tonnes (11%).

Techniques in Flanders

Biology (biological nitrogen removal from the thin fraction of pig manure, cattle manure or digestate) is still the most widely used technique (99 out of 137 installations, total processors (manure/digestate) not included), followed by biothermal drying (15 plants, not including total processors).

As in 2020, the largest amount of nitrogen was processed through biology in 2021 (13.7 million kg N or 41.7%). This is an 11.7% decrease compared to 2020. Biothermal drying, which until ranked first in terms of the largest amount of nitrogen processed last year, processed 11.7 million kg of N in 2021 11.7 million kg of N (35.5%) from mainly poultry manure, horse manure, the thick fraction of pig manure and the thick fraction of cattle manure. This is a 23% decrease compared to 2020. The temporary inactivity of a large biothermal drying plant may account for this.

The largest amount of phosphate (9.6 million kg P2O5 or 68.4%) is processed via biothermal drying (whether or not combined with drying and granulation).