Livestock farmer perceptions of successful collaborative arrangements for manure exchange: a study in Denmark

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Fulfilling the targets of the European Nitrate Directive (91/676/EEC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) has required governments to take action to prevent excessive application of livestock manure. In Denmark, where intensive livestock production has caused serious nitrogen leaching to underground water, self-governing manure exchanges have been widely organised among farms in local communities. This allows large livestock farms to achieve the required balance between manure production and the agricultural production area although the importer rarely pays the full nutrient value for the manure received. Despite the potential for improved efficiency of manure use, few studies have examined livestock farmers’ perceptions of coordinated arrangements with recipient farms and factors in successful arrangements. A total of 644 manure exporters were asked about factors they consider important in identifying and selecting a new partner for manure export, including factors regarding the potential partner and the function of the partnership. They evaluated a total of 18 statements relating to possible perceptions. The results revealed that exporters appreciated especially four qualities: (1) timely communication regarding establishment of a contract; (2) the potential for a long-term partnership; (3) physical and social accessibilities to the partner/s; and (4) flexibility of acceptance of manure. Multiple regressions were then performed to detect associations between the variables on farm/farmer characteristics and on existing collaborative arrangements, and the factor scores derived from principal component analysis (PCA) of farmers’ perceptions. The results provided practical insights into how socio-demographic characteristics of farmers, their production enterprises, their past experiences of transactions and spatial location of farms influenced their decision-making in establishing partnerships. For instance, organic dairy farmers seemed to place less emphasis on the distance to and accessibility of their partner. Exporters on the islands where crop production dominates were significantly more concerned about the characteristics of the partner with respect to his/her professional skills and business expertise. Social aspects, e.g. previous knowledge of the partner, were perceived as more important by older than by younger farmers, while this aspects appeared to be less important for farmers with large business units as their primary aim of making agreements seems to comply with the regulations. These findings are applicable in intensive livestock production areas in other European countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgricultural Systems
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 108560610