Limits on land applications of slurry nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are used to restrict losses of nutrients caused by livestock production. Here, we used a model to assess technologies that enable a more even geographic distribution of slurry nutrients to land. Technologies included were screw press slurry separation, with or without solid fraction composting, centrifuge separation with or without liquid fraction ammonia (NH3) stripping, and anaerobic digestion. Regulatory constraints were placed first on the application in slurry of N, then P, then N and P both on the producing (donor) and receiving (recipient) farms. Finally, a constraint preventing an increase in donor farm NH3 emissions was imposed. Separation had little effect on N losses per unit mass of slurry, but NH3 stripping led to a reduction. Centrifuge separation allowed a greater increase in pig production than a screw press, especially with P regulation. NH3 stripping was only advantageous with N regulation or when combined with NH3 scrubbing of pig housing ventilation air, when donor farm NH3 emissions were a constraint. There was a production penalty for using composting or anaerobic digestion. The choice of appropriate slurry management option therefore depends on the focus of the regulation. Nuanced and therefore complex regulations are necessary to take advantage of synergies and avoid cross-policy conflicts and incongruencies.
Journal of Environmental Management, 2013, Vol 130, p. 447-456