Dutch broiler farmers want stable policy on particulate matter

Shifting policy leads to reluctance to invest


By: Global Ag Media

via The Poultry Site - 4 August 2022


Wageningen University & Research (WUR) researchers investigated what factors play a role when investing in particulate-reducing techniques on broiler farms.


Pressure on broiler farmers is great. They are expected to improve animal welfare, as well as reduce nitrogen and particulate matter emissions. But they work in a market characterised by small profit margins, where small adjustments to the business can have a big effect on income. It is therefore a challenge for them to consider the best long-term decisions for the further development of their business.


"Broiler farmers are reluctant, but more willing to invest if they are given guarantees for a stable policy from the government," WUR researcher Luuk Vissers said.


Broiler houses are an important source of particulate matter in the Netherlands, accounting for 62% of fine particle emissions from agriculture. Particulate matter is a mixture of microscopic particles that are released into the air through manure and feathers, for example. A high concentration is not only bad for the health of the farmer and the animals kept in the stables, but also for that of the people living in the surrounding areas.


Particulate matter enters the lungs through inhalation and can cause an inflammatory reaction. High concentrations can also cause vegetation stress (stress on plants), which reduces photosynthesis.


The Dutch government therefore aims to reduce the particulate matter emissions from broiler houses by half between 2020 and 2030.


"Broiler farmers can use particulate-reducing techniques for this. But this usually requires a substantial investment that does not pay off financially," says Jaap Sok, assistant professor of the Business Economics group from the Department of Social Sciences. "We investigated broiler farmers' investment preferences for different particulate-reducing techniques and how these relate to socio-economic characteristics of the broiler farmer and perceived obstacles to business development."


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