In Wijdenes, construction is underway on a new barn for farmer Joeri Ham. It surprises many people that he is currently investing in his farming business. And as a sober farmer himself, he is also a little concerned. “I don’t get nervous easily, but you should not think about it too much. Otherwise you will never sleep at all,” says Joeri.

    Many farmers do not dare to invest now for fear that the investment will be for nothing if the rules regarding nitrogen change. Joeri also suffers from changing rules, which meant that the calculation of nitrogen emissions had to be repeated every time.

    “But I think that the permit for the new barn has now been properly arranged. We have a statement from the municipality and the province,” said Joeri. It took two years to obtain the permit, but construction is already underway. “This week they started on the pit walls, it should be ready sometime in October,” says Joeri.

    Many people ask Joeri whether it is wise to build a new stable now – NH Nieuws

    The barn that is built ensures a reduction of the ammonia emissions, created by the cows. The ammonia largely consists of nitrogen, so the barn is part of the solution to reduce nitrogen emissions.

    “The gentleman from the bank said ‘at the moment we have zero requests for stables’. So I am now the only one,” says Joeri. The stable builder also indicates that they used to be picky about the assignments, but now they have to accept everything. “Fortunately, we still have enough work for everyone,” said the barn builder.

    “When you buy out everyone, the problem is solved and you don’t have to innovate anymore”

    Farmer Yuri Ham

    Joeri says that he was protesting in Stroe yesterday. He believes that buying out offers no prospects. “When you buy out everyone, the problem is solved and you no longer have to innovate,” says Joeri.

    According to him, that is a shame, because there is a lot of ingenuity involved with farmers and the companies around them. “Over here, someone has a machine that reduces 70 percent of the ammonia, but people don’t even want to look at it,” explains Joeri.

    Joeri also understands that sometimes difficult choices have to be made. “It will sometimes be difficult in nature reserves, but we must continue to encourage innovation.”

    What is ammonia?

    The farmer emits his nitrogen via ammonia. This occurs when urine, manure and oxygen come into contact with each other.

    Ammonia is a colorless gas with a strong smell. It consists of nitrogen and hydrogen. When calculating how much nitrogen is contained in a kilo of ammonia, RIVM uses the formula (1X0.82). This means that 1 kilogram of ammonia is equal to 820 grams of nitrogen.


    The new barn that Joeri is having built has significant savings on emissions. “It goes from 13 kilos to 6 kilos of ammonia per cow,” says Joeri. However, there are still doubts about these figures. There are now some lawsuits pending claiming that the savings have been measured too favorably, and that ultimately 7 kilos per cow remains.

    The barn saves money thanks to a so-called eco floor, this floor ensures that the cow’s urine does not come into contact with the cow pies as much as possible. When these do come into contact, the polluting gas is created.

    more cows

    Building a new barn is very expensive and to make this profitable, Joeri takes more cows. “Instead of 70, I now take 100,” he explains. According to him, this makes his company future-proof and his children can also farm here. “This does not reduce my nitrogen emissions, but I have to buy the right for the thirty extra cows from another farmer.”

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