From chicken bedding to organic fertiliser

June 26, 2024
Photo: Jakov Simović

Belgrade, June 26th – One of the most important principles of the circular economy is that the waste generated during the manufacture of a product is used as a raw material for another process or product. A chicken farm in Vojvodina applies this principle with great success by combining wood processing, the poultry sector and the production of organic fertiliser.

In Čenej, near Novi Sad, broiler chickens are reared on a bedding made from natural materials —sawdust and mineral sediments. This bedding is later used to produce organic fertiliser. 

This has a positive impact on the environment, as less waste is produced, resources are conserved and fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, not to mention the fact that the farm itself operates more efficiently.

"We produce the bedding according to our own recipe, which is the result of years of research and development. It has a higher absorption power compared to standard materials that are usually used for bedding", says Slobodan Predojević from "Mivaka".

After about 40 days, when the expiry date has passed, the bedding — including the chickens' organic litter — turns to manure and goes to compost. 

"The composting process takes place without any additional agents, neither chemical nor microbiological. The first step is coarse sieving of the compost, after which it is left to mature for around fifteen days. This is followed by the final step, fine sieving. Further processing of the compost results in solid organic fertilizer pellets", explains Predojević. 

The process has been completed thanks to the purchase of two new machines for transport and sieving, which was financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

These machines have increased the production capacity of organic fertiliser by 12%, while the use of fossil fuels has been reduced by 11% thanks to these innovative solutions. The estimated reduction in the carbon footprint is 6500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, which is the amount absorbed over the same period by approximately 295,500 trees.

This organic fertiliser can be used for many purposes: in agriculture, for the cultivation of crops, vegetables and fruit, in horticulture and landscaping, and in the restoration of neglected or devastated land. 

Milan Doroslovački, an entrepreneur from Bečej, has been using this fertiliser for his cacti farm for about a year. According to Doroslovački, one of his cacti has grown 120 cm in just one year thanks to the fertiliser — that is four times more than in previous years when he used other techniques to cultivate his cacti. 

"My grandfather and my father and my whole family fertilised our fields with manure, which we brought in with wheelbarrows, and that's how I learned that this is good and useful. I can only say that manure is a valuable and healing substance", concludes Doroslovački. 

As Predojević explains, organic fertiliser made from processed bedding is successfully used to rehabilitate the soil of mine tailings. "The restoration of the devastated land is a long-term process that also requires the restoration of biodiversity in the area. We have started this process and we have managed to green small parts of the tailings in Bor and Majdanpek. We hope that we can do even more", says Predojević optimistically.

This solution for improving the management of non-hazardous organic waste from farms is being implemented as part of the project "Reducing the carbon footprint of local communities by applying the principles of the circular economy in the Republic of Serbia - Circular Communities", which is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and with financial support from the GEF. 

This solution is one of the 14 best innovative solutions for accelerating the transition to the circular economy that have been implemented since 2022 as part of the "Circular Communities" project thanks to GEF support totalling one million dollars.

Photo: Jakov Simović