Towards a pragmatic approach on nitrogen for cattle in Flanders

Project Details


Main research question/goal
How can we measure ammonia emission from a cattle barn more precisely? Can we improve existing measures on the Ammonia Management Plan (“PAS” in Dutch) list? Are there promising new techniques which could be considered adding to the PAS list? These three research questions are related to the "PAS" policy. The European Member States are legally required to reduce ammonia losses to the environment, which can result in acidification and eutrophication. In Flanders, these problems are being addressed by PAS. The aim of the “PASgeRUND”  project is to fill the knowledge gaps that are present around this theme in cattle and to translate them immediately into policy recommendations.

Research approach
This project started with the development of emission measuring techniques on barn and floor level. Two measuring methods were developed at the ILVO barn, a reference measuring method and a simplified measuring method. For the reference measuring method, ammonia emission is determined based on the outgoing air flow and the concentration of ammonia in the air. The simplified measuring method is based on the VERA measuring protocol. 


Also within the project, an innovative measuring methodology was developed with a high potential to enable emission measurements in practice barns. It's based on the use of CO2 and NH3 lasers scanning the barn. The first results look promising.


ILVO developed a measuring set-up, the 'Ammobil' measuring ammonia concentrations on floor level. The Ammobil was used to perform several experiments at the Hooibeekhoeve.


Besides the development of measuring methods, different initiatives were taken regarding new reduction techniques with a high potential. The most important case is the evaluation of the Dutch 'Kringloopwijzer' as a monitoring instrument for feeding measures.

Individual farmers applying for a permit need access to (building) techniques that can reduce ammonia emission. To enable the evaluation of the effectiveness of these measures, first a good measuring methodology is necessary. Within the PASgeRUND project, great efforts were made in this area.


The Flemish dairy farmers can currently choose from 27 ammonia mitigation measures. The extension of this list is mainly due to those who submitted an application file at the PAS secretariat located at ILVO. Within PASgeRUND, 12 farmers were guided in this context by Innovatiesteunpunt. Furthermore, 5 manufacturers and other organisations were adviced on the development, financing, recognition, applications etc of new PAS-measures. 

External partner(s)
Hooibeekhoeve - proefbedrijf voor veehouderij
Innovatiesteunpunt Boerenbond
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/19