Manure Standards organized 9 national kick-off events to raise awareness of the project and the overall theme of manure use, but also to hear real feedback, ideas and possible concerns from stakeholders and to have a chance to discuss in national language about national issues. Even though the project operates in many countries, the most interesting thing for stakeholders is naturally how they can participate and how their situation is taken into account. 

Presenting the project idea and methods was the backbone for all events. Many partner countries share common problems: we have manure data, but is the data comparable and reliable? Is it up-to-date and somehow controlled? And most importantly: how can the project help in creating better standards for manure analysis and manure use? These topics aroused vivid discussions with local authorities, advisors, researchers and also some farmers – all of the most important stakeholders of the project. 

Kick-off highlights around the Baltic Sea 


Denmark has been using an advanced yearly updated manure standards system for years. The kick-off participants thought that it was a good idea to have some kind of standardised model to calculated excretion from different animals in different countries and a documentation of the assumptions used in the different countries. 


Estonian kick-off organised as a Manure management and monitoring info day presented all project partners and about a dozen farmers came to join in on discussion as well. It was common position that standardised manure sampling, monitoring and management assessment is highly relevant and needed to improve the situation in the sector both from environmental as well as economic point of view. 


The Finnish stakeholders discussed both manure sampling, which is the dominating method on farms, and calculating manure nutrient value and the reliability of the information from both methods. The participants supported the project’s aim to harmonise the methods to collect manure data and to use it in manure fertilisation plans. The aim helps in achieving more level playing field between farms and countries in the Baltic Sea region. 


In Germany participants had a chance to hear about another, recently ended project PROMISE and its conclusions on phosphorus recycling. Local issues, such as nutrient balance method in Germany and the impact of new German fertiliser ordinance in Lowe Saxony area were discussed, also highlighting the problems of using manure due to control of the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. 


Latvian kick-off event included interesting expert talks. For example principles of cattle feeding and their effects on methane and ammonia emissions were presented. The updated manure standards will allow Latvian farms to perform manure analysis with better quality, which helps in nutrient management and eventually improved positive environmental and economical performance of the farming sector is expected. 


Lithuanian kick-off event focused strongly on sustainable manure practices. There was a general agreement that manure management and nutrient bookkeeping should be improved in Lithuania and more attention should be dedicated to reducing negative environmental impacts of agriculture. 


The participants of the Polish kick-off event highlighted the importance of choosing the project pilot farms in a way that they are representative of the animal type concerned. Also, proper communication with farmers as important stakeholder group for the project was emphasized. 


The need to update the current Russian standards, which are used to calculate the quantity and estimate the quality of manure, was brought up during the Russian kick-off. The project activities will make it possible to specify more precisely the manure nutrients content and their loss at all stages of manure handling and to outline the relevant measures.   


Participants heard presentations from different projects: about online measurement of nutrient content in manure and about acidification of manure. Discussions focused on several important questions, for example current regulations, farmers’ needs for help, e.g. course on manure spreading, and bad compatibility of different programs used in planning of feeding and fertilising.

How to make the most out of national project kick-off? Read the three-point checklist! 

How to make the most out of national project kick-off? Read the three-point checklist!
Susanna Kaasinen is a Project Manager in HELCOM, and leading Manure Standards’ work package that deals with dialogue between the project and the stakeholders. Part of the task is to help all project partners to organize their events. Organising an event is a big effort to all who are involved – what are the key things to remember? Susanna shares her best takeaways:

  • Invite all relevant stakeholders, especially ones most affected by project outcomes.
  • Leave room for discussion. Dividing into groups can often stimulate more discussion and encourage people to talk.
  • Don’t be afraid of criticism – it’s what can make your project even better!
Share This