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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGING FARMS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND PROFIT

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Whole farm impact of anaerobic digestion and biogas use on a New York dairy farm

Authors
item Rotz, Clarence
item Hafner, Sasha

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2011
Publication Date: August 14, 2011
Citation: Rotz, C.A., Hafner, S.D. 2011. Whole farm impact of anaerobic digestion and biogas use on a New York dairy farm[abstract]. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 1111194.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Anaerobic digestion of manure for biogas production is one of many options for reducing the carbon footprint of milk production. This process reduces greenhouse gas emissions but increases the potential nitrogen and phosphorus losses from the farm. An anaerobic digester component was added to the Integrated Farm System Model to obtain a tool for comprehensive evaluation of the various effects of using this technology on dairy farms. A dairy farm in New York was simulated for 25 years of weather with and without the use of a digester. Farm records were used to verify simulated feed production and use, milk production, biogas production, and electric generation and use. Methane emission from the manure storage was reduced 71%, which reduced the whole-farm emission by 20%. Energy saved in water heating and purchased electricity reduced combustion and secondary carbon dioxide emissions by 9% and 11%, respectively. Over all farm sources and sinks, the digester reduced the net greenhouse gas emission and farm gate carbon footprint by 25 to 30%. Without financial assistance, there was no direct economic benefit to the producer, but benefits of reduced odor and lower environmental impact could be obtained without much reduction in farm profit. Whole-farm simulation provides a useful tool for evaluating and comparing management options to reduce the environmental footprint of farm production systems.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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