Manuresource is a 2-year international conference on manure management and valorisation organised by the Flemisch Coordination Centre for Manure Processing, Ghent University and Inagro.

At Manuresource 2024 celebrated during the 20th and 21st of March 2024, the project partners ZLTO and Ugent organized a “round table”.  This is a concept where the conference participants can join a 1-hour round table discussion around a specific topic of interest. This round table is repeated one time so participants can attend 2 topics of choice. This was an opportunity to present the STRATUS project to potential stakeholders and get some insights into our target groups’ needs. Participants were also asked to fill in a short questionnaire.

During the workshop, the project was first introduced, after which attendees were asked to introduce themselves and fill in a form indicating their topic of interest and what STRATUS could mean for them. This will be used as an entry point for identifying interested parties and their needs.

In general, the participants were interested in the project and some key challenges/advice were formulated:

  • Be very clear on what is in there for advisors, they are always busy.
  • Be very specific, the FINs should be “translated” into very specific COPs, only then will the advisors be interested in joining. A suggestion was to formulate specific sub-questions for the 3 FINs to attract the advisors. Examples that were mentioned were a) How to integrate Near InfraRed (NIR systems, implementation), b) Digestate, and c) Certification of BBF. Furthermore, the CoPs should create a specific agenda, fitting the countries’ needs and main crops grown.
  • A bottom-up approach should be respected. A suggestion could be that for example based on projects (type Novafert, Nutribudget,…) and existing tools, a list of topics can be put forward and advisors can “vote” for prioritization.
  • The network can also be a good opportunity to bring focus to the foreseen trainings in Stratus (for example on the impact of innovations in the future or on communication on innovations).
  • The participants indicated that the main focus should be bringing people together around real cases (so not merely science). Easily accessible and understandable information is key, for example by information sheets.
  • An interesting approach would be ‘how to bring goal-oriented farming in practice’ (as an alternative to ‘calendar farming’). In this respect, attendees missed water quality as an indicator
  • Be critical, and attentive for advisors with a market push approach (due to a relationship with a certain product) rather than a market opportunity approach. We should link to independent advisors willing to share, which is easier in an international network.

Participants expressed that the project is a chance to address ‘questions of the coming decade, in an integrated way’. They showed interest to join in the CoPs.

Stratus is a 5-year bottom-up networking project across all 27 EU member states, aimed at creating a European network of advisors on innovation processes on fertilization. The project will create 3 transnational sub-networks (Fertilization Innovation Networks or FINs): BioBased Fertilizers (BBF), Precision Farming and Soil Quality. For every country also a Community of Practice (CoP) will be formed along which cross-visits and demonstrations will be organized.