On-farm removal of phosphorus from slurry

he screw press separator in the Nutrient Management Centre at AFBI Hillsborough.
he screw press separator in the Nutrient Management Centre at AFBI Hillsborough.

Scientists at the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Hillsborough are researching ways of lowering phosphorus (P) levels in cattle slurry and anaerobic digestate.

High P levels in soils remains a problem for many farms in Northern Ireland as it can lead to issues with water quality.

Researchers at the Nutrient Management Centre in AFBI Hillsborough are hosting members of the Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS) as part of the organisation’s AGM to discuss ongoing research into the issue.

The centre has screw-press and centrifuge technologies which are used to de-water slurry so that P can be exported off-farm in solid form at a lower transport cost than unseparated slurry. The solid material can then be used as a fertiliser in soils with low P levels.

Other facilities at the Nutrient Management Centre include a willow plantation which is used for reducing surface run-off.

As part of NIIAS’s annual general meeting, visitors will get a tour of the centre and will hear from Dr Chris Johnston from AFBI on mitigation against P in waterways.

The event takes place on Monday, June 17, 2019 and begins with registration from 1pm with a barbeque lunch served from 1.30pm. The tour and AGM will conclude by 4pm.

The event costs £15 for NIIAS members, £20 for non-members and £10 for students. Places should be booked before Friday, June 14 by contacting Francis Lively at chairman@niias.co.uk or 07936648495.