A farm equipment manufacturer is developing a toilet for cattle and has revealed that cows can be trained to use it.

The system from Dutch company Hanskamp was developed as a solution for ammonia reduction.

The innovative system is designed to collect urine before it hits the floor in their feed sheds, ensuring it stays separated from the manure.

Cows have a nerve reflex that causes them to immediately urinate. With the CowToilet, Hanskamp has managed to automate this long-known technique to make a cow urinate.

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The CowToilet is placed against the cow's suspensory ligament and moves in unison with the cow.

The technique locates the nerve that triggers the urinary reflex and when it is found the nerve is stimulated and the cow starts urinating.

The urine is collected in the CowToilet container and is extracted through a suction line into a separate storage tank.

A spokesman said that in the trials, it was noteworthy that cattle visit the appliance voluntarily.

The visit to the toilet is combined with the animals getting their daily feed.

A Hanskamp spokesman said: "Because most of the urine is collected, an enormous reduction in ammonia emissions is achieved.

"This is good for both the environment and animal welfare; a healthier climate in the shed, for example.

"The CowToilet also offers economic advantages, as it saves on manure depositing costs and may even be an alternative to ammonia emission reducing floors.

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"This system also offers great opportunities for new revenues.

"Pure urine can be used as a high-quality raw material in, for example, precision fertilisation.

"There are also ongoing developments in which urine is used to generate 'yellow' power or as a source of hydrogen.

"The CowToilet by Hanskamp contributes to a sustainable and profitable future in dairy farming."

A Federated Farmers spokesperson told the Herald: "Federated Farmers is always interested in innovation. It's an interesting concept.

"It would be great to see the product out here on display at a public field days so everyone could get the opportunity to see it in action."

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Approximately 90 per cent of ammonia emissions come from agriculture when manure and urine mix, ammonia is formed.

If this is released into the air, it can precipitate in nature, causing large amounts of nitrogen to end up on the ground.

Plants can only process up to a certain amount of nitrogen.

The remaining amount acidifies the soil and affects the groundwater.

High concentrations of ammonia are harmful to humans and animals.

To limit ammonia emissions from the agricultural sector, dairy farmers have to pay high fees to meet ammonia emission and manure disposal requirements.

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Therefore, ammonia reduction is a high priority for many dairy farmers.

The CowToilet by Hanskamp is a crucial solution in the field of ammonia reduction.

The first commercially available models are expected to be available from mid-2020.

- Australscope