Earlier this year, Coleg Sir Gâr was awarded Welsh Government funding for an agricultural project set to transform the future of slurry management in Wales. The Carmarthenshire college is the only further education college in Wales to be awarded Smart Expertise funding.
The new Tywi Farm Nutrient Partnership will build on the success achieved by the college’s existing slurry management project, Prosiectslyri, which developed a dewatering and purification slurry management system in partnership with Power & Water.
John Owen, Project Manager at Coleg Sir Gâr chatted to us at Business News Wales about the new project.
“The way that it works is that they have an interest in model of processes that bolt onto the Slurry Project. The project was set up to de-water slurry.”
John describes how the aim of the project will be to better utilise farm nutrients by developing and commercializing appropriate sustainable farming nutrient management practices using new and advanced technology.
Currently, there are around 1,609 dairy herds in Wales which could all potentially benefit from the outcomes of this project as well as the environment impact.
Earlier this year, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:
“I’m really pleased to support this project by Coleg Sir Gâr, which will bring benefits to the college, local farmers and to the environment.
“Our SMART support is helping create new innovations across a range of sectors, including agriculture, so congratulations to Coleg Sir Gâr for becoming the first FE college to benefit from SMART expertise funding.”
Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Research Centre will be the leading partner of the project and based at its Gelli Aur campus which is the agricultural hub of the college.
This new project will work with existing partners and a significant number of new partners who will co-fund the research and development to adopt innovative processes and precision agriculture techniques using the very latest technology to utilise treated slurry.
New legislation, the water directive and higher expectations mean that environmental standards need to improve and new management techniques need to be implemented.
John stressed the importance of the project, saying:
“We believe that the issue regarding contamination occasionally associated with farm waste is down to the water and not down to the nutrients, so if we can eliminate the water from the slurry then we have a product that is much safer, much more efficient and far less likely to contaminate the environment.”