Danish farmers seek to combine care for the environment and consideration for their neighbours with the management of efficient, modern husbandry production systems.

The industry acknowledges the impact of modern farms on the environment and then acts to minimise this impact at all levels, be it local, national or global.

In their immediate surroundings, farmers strive to reduce emissions of ammonia and odour by using the most advanced technology available and by following strict Danish regulations governing this area. Permits are required from the authorities before new animal production units can be built or existing units expanded. In future, these will be situated away from environmentally vulnerable areas and operated with due consideration to possible odour impacts on neighbours.

Crop producers in Denmark have progressively substituted significant amounts of artificial fertilizer by increasing their utilisation of slurry from pig, cattle and poultry farms on arable land. Through this more natural recycling of nutrients, the loss of nitrogen from Danish crop farming to the aquatic environment since 1985 has fallen by 56 percent. Likewise, phosphorous losses have been reduced by 98 percent since 1985.

A frontrunner in environmental legislation 

Denmark has been a frontrunner in the implementation of environmental legislation for many years. The authorities have strived to implement all EU Directives in Danish legislation and in many areas Denmark’s national legislation exceeds the requirements of EU Directives. For example, Danish crop producers may only spread a maximum of 140 kg of nitrogen in the form of pig slurry per hectare of land, compared to 170 kg in other European countries. In contrast to EU standards, Danish farmers are also controlled by fixed limits for odour nuisance affecting neighbours and nearby residential areas.

The Danish authorities employ one of the world’s strictest agricultural control systems. In the environmental area, unannounced inspections are carried out to check land use, feed mixtures, fertilizer accounts, distance to watercourses, management of slurry and chemicals, as well as health and safety conditions.