3: Waste Production and Control in Agriculture

At the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Describe how the amount of waste generated is affected through production
  • Describe how waste can be controlled by measures such as biodigesters etc
  • State the advantages of waste control for farming businesses

What influences the amount of waste material generated from a livestock farm?

Task: Write down all the waste material that a livestock farm generates.


Potential influencers on the amount of waste generated by a farm

  • Livestock numbers
  • Weather
  • Type of housing
  • Type of bedding
  • A large amount of machinery

Farmers can influence the amount of waste.

Look at the following pictures and explain how in the worksheet provided.

Pictures to discuss


Pictures to discuss


Pictures to discuss


Pictures to discuss



On the worksheet fill in the gaps to identify where the waste has been generated, what affects the amount produced and how it can be minimized.

Download Worksheet

Waste management control

Farms need to manage their own waste and the following plan should be implemented.

  • 1: Review current practice - Carry out a review of your current management practices. Evaluate the nature, the quantity and the full costs of dealing with waste. Identify the source and the current disposal route. Pay greatest attention to the more significant issues.
  • 2: Avoid waste - See if the waste can be avoided from the outset. Consider alternative materials or the use of alternative techniques.
  • 3: Reduce waste - Where waste cannot be avoided then consider how it may be reduced. Look at all the options. Consider technical changes to the system or the use of other management techniques. Consider staff qualifications and training.
  • 4: Reduce waste - Some waste materials may be reused as the raw material for another process.
  • 5: Recycle waste - Many waste materials can be recycled for a secondary purpose. Check the Recycling Directory at or check local directories and web sites for recycling centres or specialist contractors.
  • 6: Take action - Compile a shortlist of potential improvements and take action in order to make the savings work.


  • All farms produce waste and it is up to the farmer to try and minimise the production of all types.
  • There are several factors that affect the amount, some are in the control of farmers e.g. bedding type, and some are not e.g. weather.
  • There is also an economic reason to reduce waste and to reuse nutrients e.g. fertilizer prices against farmyard manure and slurry.
  • It makes more business sense to use waste nutrients on crops.

Useful resource - Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste

Completed Worksheet