FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and Lely start nitrogen reduction pilot

FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and Lely join forces to reduce nitrogen emissions on dairy farms. They enter into a partnership to install 96 Lely Spheres, spread across all Dutch provinces. Lely Sphere is an installation that reduces nitrogen emissions in a milking parlor by up to 70 percent. The three parties hope that the concept following this pilot will be applied more widely in the sector.

Drastic nitrogen reduction in milk production possible

Lely Sphere is a circular housing system that separates solid manure and urine; and converting nitrogen emissions into valuable fertilizers. The farmer can reuse this for precision fertilization on the ground. This makes the mineral cycle more complete, the use of fertilizer is reduced and the climate in the barn is improved. Recent reports show that Lely Sphere has reduced ammonia emissions in the barn by up to 70 percent. The Lely sphere was officially recognized in 2021 and included on the RAV list (Ammonia Livestock Farming Regulations).

Collaboration to help farmers

FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and Lely want to use this partnership to make investments in a Lely sphere available to farmers. FrieslandCampina pays the companies a fee, Lely gives a discount when buying the system and Rabobank has put together a favorable loan package. In addition, the parties hope that this initiative will also encourage regional and national governments to take initiatives. This is to stimulate sustainable agriculture through innovation and to make the necessary financial resources available for this.


Hein Schumacher, CEO FrieslandCampina: “We are always looking at how technology can help make the sector more sustainable. With Lely Sphere, we achieve a direct and documented nitrogen reduction on our members’ dairy farms. We believe this is a more sustainable and future-proof solution. “We want to encourage the government to take over from us and invest in farmers who want to make their business more sustainable.”


André van Troost, CEO of Lely. “Together with FrieslandCampina and Rabobank, we want to contribute to alternatives to the current government plans regarding the national nitrogen problem. Instead of compensating for the reduction of livestock and dairy farmers, we believe in investing in research and technical innovations to stimulate circular livestock farming and make agriculture more sustainable. With this collaboration, we make investing in the Lely sphere more accessible to farmers; enables them to work for a sustainable future for their business. ”


Martine Boon, Deputy Director of Food & Agri at Rabobank. “Innovation is important for farmers, to become more sustainable and to be able to continue farming. In addition to good cooperation, this initiative is also one of the solutions to the current nitrogen problem. Rabobank is happy to contribute to this. In this case, using an interest rebate and a deferral period for the farmer. This gives them more financial leeway to become more sustainable. ”

Sign up for the pilot

Farmers can sign up to participate in the program from today. The partners expect the first Lely Spheres to be installed after the summer. At the beginning of the new year, the results of the pilot project were evaluated to discuss the next steps.

Next step

In addition to innovation in terms of nitrogen reduction, the three parties also have greenhouse gas reduction (including methane) high on the agenda. And see this as an important next step in making agriculture more sustainable.

Source: Lely and FrieslandCampina
Photo: Lely

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