A method for livestock waste management planning in NE Spain
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A method of decision-making on livestock wastes management in areas with nutrient surplus due to high livestock density is applied in Catalonia (NE Spain). Nutrient balance is made considering soil nitrogen application as the limiting factor. Special attention is paid to the centralized treatment option. The method presented consists of: 1. minimizing livestock waste generation (at farm scale) as a step previous to any other, both in amount and limiting components, 2. applying the nitrogen balance method at regional and municipal scale and providing enough storage capacity in order to apply wastes in an agronomically correct way, 3. spatially refining the results of the nitrogen balance by a proposed method that allows precisely pinpointing the hotspots of livestock waste generation, where centralized treatment might be an interesting option, and 4. deciding on the waste treatment objectives, provided that treatments be necessary. Knowledge about the wastes, meeting the interests and merging the efforts of the various actors, as well as an adequate budget are necessary ingredients for the success of any waste management plan.