Ambassador: Bart Vanackere, Belgium

Publication date: February 2020 | Theme: Animal welfare

Challenges: The quality of the farm atmosphere

Faeces and urine are separated, and regularly removed, from the finisher pig housing to reduce the production of ammonia on a Belgian unit run by Akivar. The sloped floor underneath the slatted flooring directs urine so it is collected in a urine gutter, while the faeces are scraped with a newly developed scraper towards a collection pit.

The air quality inside the building is better than on an average farm, so the environment for both farmers and pigs is improved. 



  • The growth rate of piglets increased by 25%
  • Finishing daily weight gain increased by 5%
  • Finishing Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) improved by 5%
  • Veterinary costs per slaughter pig are reduced by 30%
  • Saving of €40,000/year in electricity costs - investment in mono-digester is paid back in 7 years


  • 11% increase in labour costs due to the system maintenance
  • Mono-digester has an initial cost of €270,000 but there are no additional maintenance costs throughout

Manure collection pit with visible scraper chain

Innovation in practice

A farm in Belgium set out to reduce ammonia emissions by installing a system which seperates faeces and urine under a slatted floor. They began by converting a small, existing building to try the technique. In order to get a building and environmental permit, they have to provide ammonia emission data, using an acknowledged measurement technique. They are also measuring odour.

A sloped floor allows the removal of collected urine to a gutter, whilst faeces is scraped into a collection pit. The fresh faeces is digested in an on farm small scale mono-digester that produces heat and electricity.

The immediate separation and removal of urine and faeces prevents the release of ammonia emissions into the barns. In addition, the removal and fast separation of urine and faeces will reduce dust and bioaerosol emissions, which will significantly improve air quality in pig housing facilities.

Initially, the farmer renovated a small existing barn in order to test this system, however, he was so pleased with the results he constructed a new bigger building to install the system in.


"I did not want to depend on one supplier. Instead of opting for a manure cellar in prefab concrete, I did it myself by casting a concrete floor under a slope. Afterwards we grinded some slits and placed a manure scraper". Bart Vanackere

More about this best practice

To access more information, contact RPIG (Belgium): Laurens Vandelannoote