Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon was in Strathaven to check out a pioneering eco-farm’s latest groundbreaking technology aimed at helping to protect the environment.
The MSP met with farmer Alex Fleming on Nether Lethame Farm to speak about their N2 applied unit.
The technology enables local production of fertilizer using only livestock slurry, air and electricity – dramatically reducing harmful emissions while improving yield.
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The breakthrough technology, which is the size of a shipping container, is being piloted at the dairy farm – which sells dairy products in vending machines – in a bid to become net zero.
The N2 applied unit adds nitrogen from the air into slurry, increasing the nitrogen content with that reaction preventing the loss of ammonia, also eliminating methane emissions.
This provides a real solution in helping to achieve climate target commitments on an industrial scale.
The end-product is a nitrogen enriched organic fertilizer (NEO), which has the same characteristics as normal slurry, but contains more nitrogen and significantly less emissions.
Alex told Lanarkshire Live: “The potential to make slurry management, which is such an environmental Achilles’ heel for the dairy sector, net zero can be a cornerstone of our sustainable farming business.
“We want to explore how best to achieve net zero emissions and make green technology the backbone of our growing business.
“We are a highly unusual farm in that we’re a start-up, so have had a clearer path to becoming fully sustainable from the outset.
“Since we took ownership at the end of 2018, we’ve grown a business that is the master of its own destiny in selling directly to the public via vending machines and a cafe, and we have had to adapt and accelerate our plans due to the impact of lockdowns.”
The slurry can still be spread using existing farm equipment, enabling farmers to improve their own food production, reduce the need for chemical fertilizer (increasingly significant as fertilizer prices rise), and make farming more circular.
One N2 Unit working on a farm with 200 cows, can reduce and remove a total of 203 tonnes of CO2e per year.
Adopted across the UK dairy herd, N2’s technology could reduce and remove 2.69 million tonnes CO2e per year – c. 15 per cent of the Committee on Climate Change recommendation, and nearly 25 per cent of the NFU target.
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