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New joint project “GülleBest” in Germany

GülleBest: Mitigation of ammonia and greenhouse gas emission by innovative slurry and digestate application on growing crops


How can slurry and digestate be used in such a way that greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions are kept to a minimum? The researchers of the new joint project “GülleBest” will investigate this question over the next 3 years.

One of the most important measures to reduce ammonia and greenhouse gas emission from crop production is the adoption of low-emission application techniques for slurry and digestate. The new German fertilization ordinance (Düngeverordnung, effective since 06/2017) obligates farmers to refrain from autumn slurry application before winter crop sowing and instead apply slurry in the spring.  autumn to spring. This might induce higher ammonia emissions, because immediate incorporation into the soil, which is an easy option to reduce emissions from applied slurry, is not feasible on shoots of crops.

The project will therefore evaluate greenhouse gas and ammonia emission reduction, fertiliser efficiency and practical suitability of different application techniques (trailing hose, slot technique, slurry acidification, nitrification inhibitors) for slurry and digestate in growing winter wheat and grasslands.

The project consortium consists of the Thünen Institute (Coordination) and its participating project partners Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), the University of Hohenheim, Osnabrück University and the Danish agricultural engineering company SamsonAgro GmbH. The project includes the following work packages:

1) a coordinated network of four field experiments on different soil types and climatic regions across Germany,

2) the evaluation of the full life-cycle emissions on basis of a live-cycle-analysis,

3) an economic and operational evaluation on field and farm scale of different techniques used,

4) developing a concept for the mapping and accounting of emission-related application techniques for up-scaling of findings to national inventories,

5) the integrative assessment and knowledge transfer to agricultural practice by developing decision-making aids for politics and practice.

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The project is supported by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany via the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) under the innovation support programme.