The inaugural meeting of the European Circular Agronomics project was held, bringing together companies, research centers and universities from 10 countries with the aim of increasing the recovery and recycling of nutrients along the agri-food chain at European level and reducing the impact of agriculture, livestock and the food industry. This initiative will work with the principles of the circular economy, in order to reduce and reincorporate residual phosphorus and nitrogen from the fertilization and slurry to the production system, as well as to increase the carbon capture of the soil.
The project has a large experimental and demonstrative component that will be put into practice in six cases of study throughout Europe, one of which will be carried out in Catalonia. Catalonia is an area with strong agricultural and livestock production concentrated in very specific areas. The surplus of nutrients in the soil, the eutrophication of groundwater, the emissions coming from the sector and the scarcity of water are some of the challenges that will be solved in the pilot tests.
The study consists of several parts that will be carried out in several locations. In the experimental farm of the IRTA of Monells, the EVAM, will work with the feeding of precision in calves and other strategies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas and nitrogen from the slurry and increase its fertilizer value. The obtained products will be reused in fertilization trials in fields of Osona and Baix Empordà.
At the same time, pig debris will be treated in a biogas plant and a solar drying will be applied in the solid fraction of the digestate to obtain high quality fertilizers that will be reused in fertilization trials in fields in La Noguera. The reuse of livestock droppings for the fertilization of the fields where the feed for the animals will be produced allows creating a closed system where an efficient and sustainable production is sought to the maximum. Therefore, the project contemplates a socioeconomic and environmental evaluation that will be applied to the six cases of study.
The Circular Agronomics project has a duration of four years and has the participation of 19 partners from 9 European countries and a federation of farmers from 10 countries in East Africa, based in Kenya. It has a budget of 6,999,795.50 euros from the Horizon 2020 Program for Research and Innovation.
IRTA leads and coordinates the project, led by Dr. Victor Riau of the Integral Management of Organic Waste Program, and where the programs of Ruminant Production, Sustainable Extensive Crops, Urban and Periurban Agriculture, the Mas Badia Foundation also participate in a multidisciplinary way. as a third party and CREDA as a participating partner.