UK: Crop best practice guidance launched

The voluntary guidelines on Best Practice for Crop Feedstocks in anaerobic digestion, prepared and supported by ADBA, REA, NFU, CLA and NNFCC, was officially launched today following considerable collaborative efforts between AD and farming industries in consultation with government and other key stakeholders.

The choice of crop and the farming practices used can affect soil quality and structure, nutrient retention and leaching, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity among many other things.  The guidelines, which draw on existing regulations and standards, aim to show the wide benefits of crop-based AD to sustainable farming and how good practice can be used to bring positive environmental outcomes and avoid risks, in particular by integrating crops for AD into the whole farm system.

Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Minister, Dan Rogerson MP, commented:
“I very much welcome the Code of Practice on the use of crops in AD. The Government wants to see a greater use of waste in AD but where these systems use crops, the code provides a good start in order to highlight best growing practice and takes on board environmental concerns.”

Launching the guidance, ADBA Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, said:
“We are delighted to be able to launch the crop best practice guidance today, which aims both to demonstrate the sustainability of crop-based AD to government and to help farmers, developers and operators decide which crops to grow… It is focussed on issues specifically around growing crops… It also demonstrates that growing crops for use in AD, along with manures and slurries, leads to more effective crop rotations by increasing soil organic matter, improving soil structure and reducing soil degradation, ultimately resulting in greater long term farm profitability through higher yields and reduced input costs.”

Dr Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive, added:
“Anaerobic digestion has a great deal to offer. It helps fight climate change through providing renewable energy, reducing GHG emissions and displacing fossil-derived fertiliser. It also supports jobs in the rural economy, with considerable innovation in recent years coming from British companies. As with most things, there are better and worse ways of doing it and the sustainability of crops in AD has become a controversial issue. It can be hard to know what to do faced with simplistic headlines on one side and complex policies on the other. These guidelines will assist in providing clear and balanced advice – building on existing documents wherever possible.”

Source: ADBA press release