Dairy farmers and dairy industry target mineral efficiency through Recycling Indicator

22 December 2014

From 1 January 2015, all dairy farms in the Netherlands with a phosphate surplus will be obliged to complete the Recycling Indicator (Dutch: KringloopWijzer) form. This administrative tool enables dairy farmers to optimise their business operations. In addition, it also enables them to achieve responsible development of their business within specified environmental constraints. With the launch of the Recycling Indicator, the Dutch agricultural organisations NZO, LTO Nederland, Nevedi and VLB have joined forces to improve the efficiency of mineral recycling on dairy farms.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, a government organisation) recently charted the level of phosphates emitted by all dairy farms in the Netherlands, at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. This year, it sent the dairy farms advance notification of the milk phosphate reference levels for their individual farms, based on the readings it took in 2013. With effect from 1 January 2015, dairy farms generating a phosphate surplus must complete the Recycling Indicator via the website www.dekringloopwijzer.nl in accordance with their conditions of supply. Approximately 60% of Dutch dairy farms are expected to have a phosphate surplus.

The Recycling Indicator as a management tool

The dairy sector is also encouraging dairy farms without a phosphate surplus to use the Recycling Indicator, since it gives individual farmers insight into the efficiency of their mineral recycling, and also tells them how to optimise their business operations. By improving the way they recycle minerals on their farms, dairy farmers can save on feed, artificial fertilizer and/or manure disposal. Better recycling of nitrogen and phosphates and lower emissions of ammoniac and greenhouse gases will also enable farms to develop more responsibly.

Recycling Indicator linked to central database

The Recycling Indicator is linked to a central database, to make it easier for farmers to complete it. This central database allows farmers to automatically upload digitally available data on their farms to the Recycling Indicator. They can decide for themselves who they allow to add information to the database, by means of authorisations. The central Recycling Indicator database will be operational from mid-January 2015.

More information can be found at www.dekringloopwijzer.nl.