Survey: farmers’ opinion on filter systems

24 January 2022 - Published by Charlotte Boeckaert
Nuredrain values the farmers’ opinion. Which requirements should the nutrient removal filters have? Are individual or collective filters recommended? Who should pay for these filters? Therefore a survey was conducted in Belgium which was responded by 30 farmers, mainly horticultural growers.

The majority was not familiar with end-of-pipe filter technologies. Following requirements were considered important:

• a simple filter system with easy handling;
• requiring a minimum of space;
• which can be integrated in an existing drainage system.



Farmers would consider to invest in such nutrient removal filters to decrease their environmental impact and for a greener image. Investment costs should be below € 10.000 and ideally below € 5.000. About 20% of the farmers would invest within the coming 2 years whereas another 40% within the coming 5 years. The final choice for a certain filter will be based on the investment cost and on the amount of legal and administrative requirements.

Half of the farmers prefer individual measures on their own premises whereas the other half is in favor of collective measures. In case that collective measures would be implemented, the contribution per farmer should be based on a pricing system per ha based on the type of crop. More than 70% of the farmers stipulates that the government should contribute to the investment. Also drinking water production companies and retail should pay a share.

Viable business models
Based on this information, viable business models will be further explored for the practical implementation of the filter systems. Stakeholders involved will be among others farmers’ organizations, agri-food processing companies, drinking water production companies, the Flanders Environment Agency and the Flanders Land Agency. This activity will foster the acknowledgement of the filter systems and will hopefully result in acceptance and uptake of the filter systems. By doing so, we hope to realize a boost in the number of organizations that will adopt our solutions by the project end in June 2023.