Reduction targets for ammonia emissions from agriculture

On 28 October, the European Parliament agreed on new reduction targets for ammonia emissions from agriculture. The plans are part of a new EU Directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants (so-called NEC Directive) to be achieved by 2020 and 2030 respectively.

To reduce ammonia emissions from livestock manure, Annex III of the proposed Directive calls on EU Member States to encourage the use of modern agricultural machinery techniques including, inter alia, the spreading of slurries to grassland by using a trailing hose, trailing shoe or through shallow or deep injection. 

According to a study by the European Commission, using advanced agricultural machinery techniques for the spreading of manure in fact offers the highest benefit-to-cost ratio when compared to other potential reduction measures.  

This is a clear and positive example of a more holistic EU regulatory approach which moves beyond the traditional focus on product design of agricultural machinery and instead aims to maximize the positive downstream contributions in terms of greater resource efficiency and sustainability that modern agricultural machinery can make in farming processes by encouraging greater uptake of state-of-the art machinery solutions in the crop protection process.