LIFE Project Cover Photo

Improvement and disclosure of efficient techniques for manure management towards a circular and sustainable agriculture.

Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000439 | Acronym: LIFE AGRICLOSE



Europe has areas with high densities of pig farms, which generate large volumes of hard-to-manage manure. Spain and Germany, with 30.1 million pigs and 27.6 million pigs respectively, account for 40 % of EU pig production. Italy, with 8.5 million pigs, is in seventh place. In Spain, the regions of Catalonia and Aragon are the main producers, accounting for more than half of Spain’s pigs. In Italy, 60 % of the country’s pigs are found in Lombardy and Piedmont.

However, there is often a disconnection in terms of management of the manure produced in these regions and its potential use as fertiliser. Productive arable land is often far from pig-raising farms, creating handling difficulties and increasing costs related to the use of manure. The problem also arises in relation to cattle farms.


The LIFE AGRICLOSE project will test and demonstrate a set of measures with the potential to improve the links between pig farms and the slurry or digested manure they generate, and fruit and arable farms (high yielding irrigated fruit trees and field crops) in the same region. The project will involve farmers, consumers and certification bodies in testing the agronomic and sanitary viability of the measures.

The project will follow circular economy principles to ensure the productive reuse of nutrients from manure. Liquid from slurries and manure that has been put through an anaerobic digestion process will be added to irrigation water for fruit trees and cereals. Solid manure will be used as fertiliser in orchards. Through these approaches, combined with the use of precision agricultural techniques, soil and environmental quality should be improved. The project will also monitor any impact of the use of such fertilisers on the healthiness of final agricultural products, including in relation to the possible transmission of resistance to antibiotics. The project will work primarily with pig farms, but its outcomes, in principle, could also apply to cattle farms.

Expected results:

  • Demonstration of the viability of using the liquid part of manure for fertilising orchards. This will be done across 64 270 hectares of orchards in Catalonia. By applying the liquid fertiliser, per hectare use in peach and nectarine orchards of mineral nitrogen and potassium fertilisers will be reduced by 100 % and 80 % respectively (equivalent to 100 kg nitrogen/ha and 96 kg potassium/ha);
  • Demonstration of the use of solid-liquid separators to improve the management of more than 640 000 cubic metres of treated slurry;
  • Adaptation of machinery for the efficient application of solid manure, compost or slurry digestate fertilisers to fruit trees;
  • Evaluation in partnership with certification bodies and companies of the effectiveness of applicationof manure-based fertilisers to fruit trees;
  • Reduction of ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide emissions from stored manure by 60 %, 50 % and 30 % respectively;
  • Application of digested manure to corn fields, leading to 30 % per hectare reductions in application of mineral nitrogen fertilisers;
  • Establishment of methodologies to identify possible migration of antibiotic-resistant genes from slurry to soils and crops;
  • Increase by 20 % over 10 years in the number of farms in Catalonia producing their own compost; and
  • Awareness-raising events and measures that will cover 30 000 people linked to farming.


    Reference: LIFE17 ENV/ES/000439
    Start Date: 02/07/2018
    End Date: 31/12/2022
    Total Eligible Budget: 2,191,703 €
    EU Contribution: 1,315,021 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Departament d Agricultura Ramaderia Pesca i Alimentacio DARP
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Gran Via Corts Catalanes, 612-614, 08007, Barcelona, España
    Contact Person: Carlos Ortiz
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Agricultural waste


    • agricultural method
    • reuse of materials
    • compost
    • agroindustry
    • manure
    • fertiliser
    • resource conservation


    • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
    • COM(2006)231 - “Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection” (22.09.2006)
    • COM(2006)508 - “Communication on the development of agri-environmental indicators for monitoring the integration of environmental concerns into the common agricultural policy” (15.09.2006)


    Name Type
    Departament d'Acció Climàtica, Alimentació i Agenda Rural Coordinator
    Ente Regionale per i Servizi all’Agricoltura e alle Foreste (ERSAF), Italy Participant
    Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones científicas (CSIC), Spain Participant
    FUNDACIÓ MAS BADIA, Spain Participant
    Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA), Spain Participant