The goal of the LIFE-ARIMEDA project is to demonstrate reductions in ammonia emissions through fertigation techniques using agricultural wastes. Fertigation is the injection of fertilisers or other water-soluble products into irrigation systems. The innovative aspect of the project is its combination of various existing low-emission measures in specific fertigation systems based on pivot and drip irrigation. The project will evaluate different techniques to determine the most cost-effective fertigation schemes, using diluted liquid fractions of pig slurry and digestate that permit scheduled fertiliser applications according to crop demand.
Large-scale field trials will enable the project to demonstrate environmental benefits, replicability potential, and make a technical and economic comparison with splash plate application without posterior incorporation into the soil, the current best practice. Specifically, the project will treat 11 661 m3 of pig slurry in Spain and 4 043 m3 of digestate in Italy and test these liquids in optimised fertigation techniques on 141 ha.
The project will:
- Increase nitrogen use efficiency using precision fertigation schemes, managed and based on an optimised nutrient recycling process;
- Assess the technical and economic feasibility of these techniques in comparison with the reference system;
- Assess the beneficial effect for water, air and soil protection avoiding any potential pollution swapping;
- Assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of synthetic fertiliser replacement; and
- Develop and assess pig slurry and digestate separation prototypes that could improve the performance and value of fertigation techniques.