Innovative technology to promote environmentally friendly farming practices

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Funding of $990,000 from the Newfoundland and Labrador Green Fund will help New World Dairy Inc. of St. David's to create a waste management solution for manure, produce enough heat and electricity to operate their facility, and produce a product that can be used as bedding for cows.
The dairy farm will install what is called an anaerobic digester and the necessary equipment to operate a methane gas capture and utilization system.
An anaerobic digester is an enclosed container that excludes oxygen from the system. A number of naturally occurring bacteria break the manure down into a variety of gases, including methane and carbon dioxide. The gas that is released during the breakdown process is captured and burned, and can then be used as an energy source.
This process of combusting methane produces a substantial reduction in GHGs. Methane is 21 times more potent a GHG than carbon dioxide, the product of the combustion. Additionally, the manure that is processed during anaerobic digestion produces a solid which is ideal bedding material for dairy cows and a nutrient laden liquid that can be used as fertilizer.
"The installation of the digester and methane gas capture system will reduce up to 11,090 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, representing a significant positive environmental benefit," Environment Minister Charlene Johnson said.
"This project demonstrates how we can take a waste product, convert it to an energy source and also have by-products that can be fully utilized. This new system will lessen the environmental and economic costs associated with trucking manure to distant fields, reduce odour that accompanies trucking and spreading manure, and increase the nutrient value of the fertilizer."
New World Dairy Inc. is the largest dairy farm in the province and milks approximately 1,200 cows and farms more than 2,000 acres of forage crop to feed the herd. In 2000, the company established a rotary milking parlour which allows 40 cows to be milked at a time, and extracts and records detailed data on individual cow production, condition and performance.
"We are excited about this opportunity for the farming industry in the province that has such wonderful environmental impacts," said Brent Chaffey, President of New World Dairy Inc. "In so many ways, we will be able to reduce our environmental footprint through production of clean energy to run the farm, less compaction of soil in our fields from our heavy trucks that haul manure, as well as a bedding product that is beneficial for the animals. This will be state-of-the art technology for the dairy industry in the province."

Organizations: New World Dairy, Newfoundland and Labrador Green Fund

Geographic location: GHGs

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