Meeting Notes

Notes from March meeting

We covered a whole raft of areas and have managed to successfully extend the scope of the project. Rather than focusing purely on in-house chicken sheds, we will also intend to measure data on the storage and application of chicken litter.  This data is key for identifying localised emissions.

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Some of the areas covered included:

  • Underfloor heating in sheds, and the impact on bedding and air inside the shed to reduce humidity (Dutch research)
  • Placing chicken litter in the ground as a temporary storage measure, or end of life disposal option
  • Identifying what Exeter and Coventry Uni have been doing and whether their methodology around monitoring can be replicated
  • Discussion on the pros and cons of scrubbers – are they effective in all conditions, and, is the investment for farmers too costly and worthwhile?
  • Storage and spreading of chicken litter – how can we measure what is happening outside the shed effectively, which provides representative data? (key)
  • Identifying total emissions during the 3 stages should be incorporated for comparison (shed, storage and application)
  • Discussion around how we could collect and measure data to put in place mitigation measures to reduce emissions (key)
  • The impact of RHI and FIT governing equipment purchases and the benefits i.e. AD and Biomass  
  • Consider poultry food with the integrators and smaller animal feed producers – seaweed, bio char, protein levels
  • Site location for research would be identified and achieved through contacts
  • The development of a tracking tool to collect real time data inside, and outside of the shed. We talked about fitting a device (tech demonstrator to be developed) to a storage area, and also a tractor as it spreads the litter to capture localised emissions data. As well as capturing emissions data, the system would also look for patterns using algorithms to address different variables (weather conditions (dry, windy, calm etc.), temp and light)). This data will then be modelled with the aim of evaluating the impact to reduce ammonia.

We think this could be a very good research project and will now consider a small grant application for a tech demonstrator i.e. a prototype that is effective in measuring emissions in and out of the sheds. We will consider the scope and then circulate for comment from yourselves before focusing on a grant application. We know there is a lot of groundwork to be done in this area, but we feel it is an area ripe for research within Shropshire and the clock is ticking.

Notes from February meeting

This morning we met and discussed how we could take the forum forward to gain benefit for all involved.  The overwhelming feel is that we would like to create a research collaboration so that we can start to understand if there is a relationship between ammonia emissions, poultry farming and other related environmental assets within the county.

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The purpose of this research collaboration is to identify the best practicable environmental options which is cost effective to reduce ammonia emissions on poultry farms in Shropshire. To do this we will:

  1. Capture current ammonia levels both inside and outside of 2 defined locations within Shropshire, using a combination of technical sensing equipment and environmental monitoring processes
  2. When we have enough data to analyse, Thrive MV will use their artificial intelligence tool to begin to identify trends and or patterns.
  3. As data is fed into AI, it will look for patterns in data using algorithms addressing different variables i.e. it will recognise relationships between factors which affect ammonia emissions/levels such as feedstock, temperature, lights, air pressure, size of area, and weather conditions, in and outside of the sheds.
  4. A range of methods aimed at reducing ammonia levels can then be trialled and measured using AI which will capture potential data changes from the sensor and environmental monitoring equipment.
  5. These results can then be used to evaluate the impact of these practices in reducing ammonia levels. 

Costs and Resources Required:

  • CREST – Dr Gavin Phillips/ Dr Andrew Miles – knowledge and research methodology for data capture/ammonia sensing and geospatial data – gathering of data
  • Thrive MV – Artificial Intelligence analysis
  • Supply and installation of equipment in sheds – Do we need to source and supply or capture existing data feeds – is the quality suitable for analysis?
  • Site Location – Discussion around which area of Shropshire would be the most beneficial, and most importantly, representative for the research  – NW Shropshire was the suggested location (justification as to why North Shropshire)
  • Type of chicken farm – discussion around which type of chicken farms and whether egg layers should be involved
  • Number of sites – Imtiaz suggested the more data we have the better for the AI to detect trends and patterns, so at least 2 sheds would be beneficial
  • Data Agreement – NDA put in place to keep findings secure for farmers, AI results can then be used for research purposes and to benefit the collaboration. However, farmers have the IP over raw data. In order to have the trust of the farmers it is important that the results / data captured are not to be used for regulatory, campaigning or other purposes beyond farmer driven research.
  • Environmental site indicators and environmental management of ammonia emissions – Speak to partners about what already exists
  • Factors and variables which affect ammonia emissions – feedstock, bedding, type of shed, size of shed, ventilation, air filtration – what technology is already being deployed? Opportunity to deploy scrubbers at £30k – grant opportunities for pilot research projects

Actions:

  1. Contact Robert Duffy at Natural England to get further information on their projects and catchment sensitive farming (Ken) – Vicki
  2. Contact Nicola Stone – Vicki
  3. Speak with Colin P – Vicki
  4. Speak to CREST research team to understand what is possible in terms of monitoring – Vicki
  5. Set up call with Imtiaz and Gary – Vicki
  6. Speak to Gary Spence ref funding and Jon ref funding – Vicki
  7. Circulate next meeting date of 8th March 10-12pm at UCS