More in-depth information revealing current manure management practices and possible barriers withholding improvements on livestock farms was gathered in six countries: Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Argentina and Costa Rica.

Viet Nam

Viet Nam has approximately 1 million farms, the majority of which raise livestock and poultry. The surveys have been conducted in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, covering approximately 200,000 ha. The most prevalent livestock systems are mixed systems with 700,000 poultry farms, 500,000 pig farms, 150,000 farms with cattle and buffalo, and 5,000 small ruminant farms. In the survey area, the total agricultural area is 150,000 ha (75%), of which 55% is arable land, 7% is horticulture, 25% is grassland, 8% is other crops, and 5% is aquaculture. Climatic conditions are tropic and sub-tropic.

In Viet Nam, most farmers store and treat solid manure, but interestingly most farmers consider solid manure from cattle and buffaloes, pigs, poultry, sheep/goats, and all other animals to have insignificant or low value. Most farmers treat it because they consider the improvement of farm hygiene from the viewpoint of human health, the abatement of odour problems for neighbours, incentive measures by the government or other institutions, and the improvement of water quality from the viewpoint of animal health to be crucial or important factors. They do not consider missed fertilizer selling value (income) when sold to other farms to be an important factor. Although these farmers who treat manure apply most fractions of digestate or composted manure for a few uses including on-farm fertilization and aquaculture, alone farmer discharged all digestate without using it. These results, that manure is used only partly or not at all, imply that farmers do not realize the nutrient and selling values of manure and do not efficiently use manure, including digestate.

Besides, those farmers who treat manure apply most fractions of digestate or dried solid manure for fertilization. In most cattle farms, farmers consider the use of solid manure as a fertilizer on their farms to be critically valuable. However, in most poultry farms, farmers consider that it has insignificant value. This implies that most of poultry farmers do not store and treat manure because they do not recognize the value of it.

Liquid manure management can be substantially improved. For solid manure management, most farmers store and treat manure but there is scope for intervention for increased use of digestate for on-farm fertilization.

The intervention should focus on addressing the two most important institutional constraints: lack of information to improve manure management and lack of access to required equipment and machines. For some farmers, the intervention should also address some relevant technical and socio-economic constraints such as lack of suitable equipment to apply manure, and lack of manure collection, storage and treatment capacity. Any intervention should focus on increasing the use of manure including digestate.

The information on manure management should be provided through other farmers, but also through government extension workers in some cases. Effective intervention should focus upon the most important sources of information for farmers such as national and local television, and farmers’ meetings.

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Bangladesh has 21 million households which raise livestock (cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, or poultry). The total area covered by the survey is 14.8 million ha. The most prevalent livestock systems are mixed systems consisting of 19 million farms with poultry and 10 million farms with cattle and buffalo. In Bangladesh the total agricultural area is 12,176,904 ha (82% of the total), of which 72% is arable land, 6% is horticulture, 1% is grassland, 20% is other crops, and 1% is aquaculture. Climatic conditions are humid and sub-humid.

The surveys have been conducted in different regions of Bangladesh covering irrigated and rainfed areas under humid and sub-humid areas.

Although the majority of farmers see the value of solid manure and, thus, collect, store and treat it, many other farmers still do not store and treat solid manure and most of those who store and treat it face some problems with insufficient storage capacity and overflow/discharge. This is supported by the fact that some farmers consider lack of farm labour, lack of manure storage and treatment capacity, and not enough collateral to get credit for investments to be critical or important technical and socio-economic constraints for optimal manure management. This explains why there has been low investment in improving manure management in the last five years and only through improved collection, storage and application of manure. Profitable practical options of manure management will help reduce SLCPs and improve soil health and the socio-economic condition of farmers. Liquid manure management can be substantially improved. Thus, there is much scope for improvement and intervention, in particular with manure treatment.

The main institutional constraint is a lack of information to improve manure management. For some farmers, an intervention should also address some relevant technical and socio-economic constraints such as lack of manure storage and treatment capacity. The information on manure management should be provided through government extension workers, and effective intervention should be conducted through field excursions, farm visits, or farmer meetings.

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Oromia and south regions were chosen for the in-depth survey because they are the regions with the highest livestock densities in the country. Also we see a higher potential for manure management in these regions because they have the largest number of animals in confinement. It is also expected that these regions will have the highest growth rates in terms of animal number due to growing urbanization of their nearby largest cities and growing demand for livestock products.

Housing of animals especially cattle in Ethiopia is not only meant to shelter animals but most importantly, to protect the animals from theft and predators. Farmers with local cattle only confine their animals at night. Goats and sheep are also confined only at night. The animals are taken to the communal grazing land during the day. Except for specialized poultry farms, all farmers kept local poultry which were dual purpose (for egg and meat production). They were left to scavenge around the household during the day and confined at night.

Fiche (Oromia) has a dominance of cattle production over all other livestock. The landless systems closer to the city have a higher proportion of crossbred cattle with higher milk yield. Further away from the city centre, livestock systems are mainly mixed where crops are the major source of income and livestock management is less intensive. In these systems, the animals graze during the day and are brought back to the compound at night. Lack of information about integrated manure management is a major reason why farmers do not use manure for fertilization. Once the extension policy lays more emphasis on manure management, there is a great chance of it being adopted since farmers also have a high dependence on government support.

The production systems in Awassa (South) in terms of livestock production are quite similar to Fiche. The major difference is in the integration of livestock and crop production where, as opposed to Fiche where manure was mainly used as fuel, farmers in Awassa used more of their manure as a fertilizer. Farmers in this region are better aware of the benefits of integrated manure. They however, still lack structured information, since their practices are mainly based on observations during individual meetings. Shortage of labour force was also detected as an issue hindering manure management. Though the situation in this region looks different in terms of manure management, the common main constraint is the lack of knowledge by farmers.

In Fiche almost all manure was dried and used as fuel; meanwhile, none of the interviewed farmers in Awassa used manure as fuel. There was a remarkably higher integration of manure in crop production in Awassa as compared to Fiche. This was combined with a slightly better management (composting and use of anaerobic digesters) in Awassa compared to Fiche. It was generally noticed that farmers further away from the large cities had easier access to fuel wood and therefore the use of manure as fuel was of less importance. This gave them a higher chance to use manure as a fertilizer.

Lack of knowledge on manure management was very predominant. The extension system in Ethiopia has a stronger reliance on direct knowledge from agricultural extension workers who are mainly government employees. The government policy in Ethiopia encourages and even compels farmers to use synthetic fertilizers. While the Ministry of Energy and Water stimulates the installation of farm household bio-digesters and provides farm-level training on its use, the Ministry of Agriculture promotes the use of synthetic fertilizers, which therefore acts as a disincentive in promoting the use of manure and bio-slurry as fertilizers.

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The survey on manure management practices covered two regions in Malawi, the first in western Malawi, near the town of Mchinji. The climate is warm and temperate with average daytime high temperatures ranging from 21 oC to 26 oC, with cooler periods during May to July and September – December being the warmest periods. Mean annual rainfall is 1022 mm consisting of a single rainy season commencing in mid-November and continuing until end March. The other region is in northern Malawi, near the town of Mzuzu. Mean annual precipitation for the Mzuzu area is 1,225 mm with similar rainy/dry seasons to the Mchinji area, although the rainy season extends through April as well. The mean daytime high temperature is also similar to the Mchinji area. Farming systems are typically a mix of annual crops and a mixture of cattle, goats, pigs and chickens.

Overall, manure tends to be poorly managed. Eight of the twenty farms surveyed did not store the manure at all; rather, the farmers would clean out the pens once a year (just before planting) and apply the manure directly to the fields. Of the farms that did manage the manure, 5 had bio-digesters of which 2 were not functioning; primarily because the owners were unsure how to fix the problem. In general solid manure and or dried slurry is stored in uncovered heaps on the bare ground.

The key barrier to improving manure management appears to be a lack of information dissemination to the farmers. Since most of the farmers receive the bulk of agricultural information from extension workers, it is key to train the extension workers on maintenance and troubleshooting biogas digesters and also on how to better manage the manure. This intervention should have a very large impact in reducing SLCP emissions from livestock manure in Malawi as well as improving livelihoods in the region through improved crop yields with less reliance on synthetic fertilizers.

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In Argentina currently more than 50 percent of slaughtered animals are fattened in corrals (Feedlots). According to the cattleman's feeding association, for the year 2013 there were 13 million animals, which would mean an annual production of fresh manure of at least 81 million tons. As the beef industry has transformed itself so swiftly, new and specific legislation and good practice guidelines are being developed to cope with the dynamic situation, which in some cases has required remediation, relocation, and redesigning of feedlots. The situation has stimulated different environmental research initiatives which express concerns about waste management and methane emissions in intensive systems.

The farms in Buenos Aires state have an average area of 492 ha ranging from 12 to 2,500 ha. The number of heads ranges from 1,500 to 15,000 with an average of 8,000; their average weight is about 256 kg. Most of the feedlots only have fences separating the areas of manure handling: storage of liquid manure (60-80%), storage of solid manure (10-50%), anaerobic digestion (less than 10%). Most manure storages do not have concrete floors or covers/roofs. The manure is in the fields of the farm. Little is given away or sold to other farms. In recent years several farms, especially large ones, have made improvements in storage, treatment and manure application.

Among the barriers to improve manure management the lack of credit for investments in infrastructure, machinery and equipment was identified as one of the main obstacles. Also, the availability of labour and the absence of regulations with a focus on equity and inclusion of producers are obstacles.

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Costa Rica

Costa Rica has an area of 5,106,000 hectares, of which 585,000 hectares are cultivated with vegetables, as well as 1,300,000 paddocks and cutting pastures (FAO 2012).

The climatic conditions varied between 10-25 °C, and an annual rainfall of 2,000 millimetres with a predominance in the tropical humid premontane and tropical humid living areas. Large farms are located mainly in the humid tropics, while the medium-sized and small farms are located in the tropical humid premontane near the skirts of the massive volcanoes and a shorter distance from large cities.

The survey was conducted on dairy cattle farms, with specialized confinement or semi-confinement, in the area of the central valley and the counties of the northern zone of Costa Rica where milk is produced.

The specialized dairy farms with confinement or semi-confinement are on average 41 ha in size. On average the farms have 273 animals, ranging from 30 to 700 animals with an average weight of app. 300 kilograms.

All farmers use urine and manure to fertilize pastures and or crops. However, there is also much discharge due to the low storage capacity.

About half of the farmers have invested time and or money to improve their manure management in the last five years. They considered it important to improve their farm hygiene, animal and human health, water quality, and to reduce odours for the neighbours. The other half does not consider it important to invest time or money in proper manure management.

Diverse actors involved in pig farms production e.g. producers, extension agents and research centres, are aware of the problems resulting from inappropriate manure management in pig farms.

On average farms had 61 sows and 384 fattening pigs. Twenty percent are either specialized in fattening or breeding. The piggeries are located in the humid tropical and high montane tropics. Pigs are generally managed in confinement with floor and ceiling. All farmers use water to remove faeces and urine of the floors. Most farmers manage manure such as collection of solids and liquids in silos especially when they apply slurry on their own land. Half of them use bio-digesters and a lower proportion uses -oxidation ponds. Eighty percent of farms separate and dry solid manure to use for on-farm fertilization or sales for off-farm use. Half of the interviewed farmers have invested in manure management in the last five years. All farms have enough storage capacity even if heavy rains occur. For many farms the shortage of land is a major constraint, which prevents them to apply their manure. Treatment and or storage individually or in groups may be a market opportunity for them.

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