About » Preventing the negative consequences of intensive livestock production


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Part-financed by the European Union

There are methods to prevent negative consequences of industrial livestock production to make it, if not friendly, than perhaps neutral to the natural environment. By applying these methods, the intensive livestock industry can come closer to the sustainable agriculture role-model; however, these methods can never substitute work at the grassroots level, i.e. starting from investment planning, in the spirit of sustainable development. In other words, the scaleand concentration of production is at stake.

From among the available methods, first-choice methodswould be those mentioned in the Polish legal regulations (addressed in detailin the previous section). It would bealso advisable to refer to recommendations put forward by the Green Federation GAJA, Coalition Clean Baltic, the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM), BalticSea 2020, and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region as well as conclusions and recommendations of the Polish Supreme Audit Office (NIK).


  1. Full compliance with legal agro-technical requirementsfor storage and use of natural fertilisers, with a focus on periods when theuse of fertilisers is prohibited, field conditions, doses and methods oflandspreading (i.e. slurry injection for nitrogen losses reduced by as much as 90%, fertiliser covering or mixing with soil within 6 h from land spreading can reduce nitrogen losses by as much as 99%), use of fertilisers close to watercourses and water protection zones, volume/area and non-permeability of fertiliser storage tanks (nitrogen losses reduced by as much as 70%) (minimum storage capacity for no less than 6 months), fertilisation plans andfertilisation within NVZs;
  2. Determining doses of fertilisers based on nutrient balance, taking into account soil fertility and the actual nutrient uptake of crops;
  3. Limiting livestock size down to levels which guarantee optimal use of natural fertilisers;
  4. Classifying large-scale livestock farms as point sources of agricultural pollution, HELCOM?s HOP SPOTS, to make room for for malrecovery programmes to eliminate conditions which were the basis for such classification;
  5. Promoting alternative methods to limit nutrient run-off to groundwater and surface water (water recirculation accompanied bynitrogen and phosphorus reduction in bacteria-algae treatment ponds, removal ofsoil suspension, macrophyte/plant filters, artificial biological barriersalong water courses, filtration ditches, phosphorus removal from surface waterusing biological coagulation methods, in-field retention containers);
  6. Dividing fertiliser doses, avoiding land spreading inthe autumn period (when the highest nutrient losses are observed);
  7. Providing effective education system for present-day (professional agricultural advisory services) and future (training teachers and updating curricula in agricultural schools) farmers on environmental impact of agricultural production.


  1. Biotechnological slurry processing (biological disinfection and sanitisation, mineralisation of organic matter, biological treatment installations, controlled fermentation, use of 'effective microorganisms');
  2. Use of balanced livestock diet which is easier to digest, adapting feed portions to the actual demand for nutrients (in terms ofspecies, age, production type; adding phytase) to prevent over-excretion ofnitrogen and phosphorus;
  3. Promoting production and conversion of agricultural biogas into thermal, electric or mechanical energy (back in 1980s, there were20 agricultural biogas production installations in Poland, there are currentlyonly 11, 10 installations were established after 2007; the renewable energysector based on biogas production has been progressively expanding by 30%; withthe current production levels of livestock waste, as much as 3.3 Gm3biogas with average calorific value of 23 MJ/m3 could be produced);
  4. Limiting ammonia emissions by ultraviolet radiation, negative air ionisation, mechanical ventilation with recirculation, floor(surface) heating, maintaining optimum litter humidity, as well asmicrobiological and mineral-organic additive to animal excrements (bentonite,zeolites, humic raw materials - peat and brown coal, microbiological agentsbased on Lactobacillus and Bacillus strains, saponins) in livestock housings;
  5. Limiting microbiological contamination of air inlivestock buildings (regular disinfection and disinsectisation of livestock housings, ventilation and recirculation filters with disinfecting agents, livestock hygiene);
  6. Isolation and protection zones (green belts made of selected species of tall trees, medium trees and shrubs);
  7. Use of alternative natural fertilisers processing methods (ashing, thermal gasification of fermentation residues).


  1. Use of modern deodoration methods for exhaust gasesfrom intensive livestock farms (biological methods - biofilters andbioscrubers, neutralisation);
  2. Preventing odour emissions with bioagents added tolitter, slurry and manure;
  3. Location of new livestock farms far from residentialareas.


  1. Promulgation of amended Helsinki Convention (Annex III) in Poland's Official Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) and its fulltransposition to the Polish law;
  2. Effective supervision of intensive livestock industry by public authorities and municipal bodies;
  3. Adoption and enforcement well-designed and effectivelaws and regulations on air quality standards, establishing standards andmethods of air quality assessment (implementing act to the Environmental Protection Law Act);
  4. Facilitating public involvement in the decision-making on geographical location and commissioning of new large-scale livestock farmsand introducing changes in operating permits awarded to existing farms (i.e. by unification of the Public Information Bulletins (BIP) in terms of socialconsultations, facilitating access to public information and environmental information and its protection, changing the attitudes of public officers to the participation of local communities and NGOs in decision-making);
  5. Review of Nitrogen Vulnerable Zones (particularlyexposed to nitrogen pollution from agricultural sources) in Poland by adaptingtheir location and size to the actual vulnerability of waters, based onenvironmental, hydrological and agricultural criteria;
  6. Unification of the definition of large-scale livestock farms, by expanding it to include rearing installations designed for alllivestock species (cattle, horses, sheep, goats, fallow deer, and fur animals,apart from poultry and pigs) with livestock size determined by means of unifiedcriteria expressed in LU;
  7. Consolidating the legitimacy of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) for intensive livestock production, and making them legally bindingwhile determining the conditions for granting integrated permits and decisionson environmental conditions for investment permits;
  8. Popularisation of the idea of Corporate Social Accountability and the Voluntary Ecological Commitments among the large-scale livestock farm owners and consumers;
  9. More effective enforcement of voluntary commitmentsmade by large-scale livestock farms under the Rural Development Programme, andmaking subsidies/preferential loans/public assistance granted by the EU (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD) dependent on meetingthe EU environmental protection standards;
  10. Public disclosure of fertilisation plans for public monitoring of compliance with fertilisation regulations;
  11. Training of public officers who deal with environmental assessment procedures; optimisation of environmental assessment procedures and timetables.


Federacja Zielonych GAJA
5 Lipca 45, 70-374 Szczecin, Poland
Phone. +48 91 489 42 33
Fax + 48 91 489 42 32

Coalition Clean Baltic
Östra Ågatan 53
SE-753 22 Uppsala, Sweden

Project Industrial animal farms in the Baltic Sea Region - sustainable practices to reduce nutrient loads is a part of a long-term campaign of the Coalition Clean Baltic and Green Federation "GAJA", aiming to reduce the negative impact of large-scale animal production on the environment and local communities in the Baltic Sea Region, particularly by reducing nutrient run-off into the sea. The project is part-financed by the European Union. This website reflects only the view of the Coalition Clean Baltic. The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.