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Reducing the environmental impact by applying livestock manure on farmland in Taiwan

Swine and cattle wastes are stipulated to be treated by three-step waste water treatment, then discharge to the surface water body in the past in Taiwan. About 50% of nitrogen will be lost during the treatment process and cause environmental issues such as environmental acidification and global warming. In addition, although the discharged effluent of treated waste water has fitted the standard of effluent, the total annual nutrient containing in effluent is equivalent near to 5 million packs of chemical fertilizer and rendered environmental. Applying the livestock manure on farmland would be one of the strategies to reduce the environmental impact and foster the circular agriculture. After the evaluation by 4-5 years field experiments, including the nutrient efficiency uptake by crop, public health concerning zoonoses occurrence and spread probability, odor emission, nitrogen leaching to groundwater and copper / zinc accumulation in soil and carbon cycling etc. The applications of livestock manure on farmland as fertilization have been approved by the government of Taiwan since 2011. Especially, biogas power generation by livestock waste is greatly encouraged from 2015 and applying biogas slurry/residue after the anaerobic fermentation on farmlands is promoted. Based on the nitrogen requirement of two crops of rice per year, about 55 thousand ha (7 %) farmland would be needed to dispose the total amount of manure generated. It is helpful indeed to reduce the nutrient contamination of surface water and chemical fertilizers consumed. And this practice can reduce annual about 1.4 million Mg CO2e emission and increase 22 thousand Mg CO2e soil carbon sequestration. However, since the cost of applying manure is higher than the chemical fertilizer and nutrient contents of manure are ever changing and unstable, there are still only 3000 ha of farmland applied with swine or cattle waste as manure up to now. The reuse amount is less than 5 % of total manure. Some strategies of governmental have been stipulated for the promotion of applying manure on farmland to reduce the environmental impacts and increase the soil carbon sequestration in the future.

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