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Anaerobic digestion may be a viable manure treatment and handling method for dairy farms. This process produces renewable energy, helps to control water pollution, reduces odors, and reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases. Methane production and then the irrigation of the odorless effluent through irrigation systems during the growing season is a method of manure handling that has a beneficial impact on the environment. These systems combined with a nutrient management plan (NMP) will also improve neighbor relations and will help provide for sustainable development of the dairy industry.  For an overview of AD see: Anaerobic Digestion on a Dairy Farm: Overview

Topic Areas

Biogas | Co-digestion | Centralized AD | Economics | Policy | Feasibility | Operation and MonitoringCase Studies | Greenhouse Gases | Safety | Nutrient Management

What is anaerobic digestion?

  • Anaerobic digestion is the breakdown of complex organic material by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen. The end products are methane, carbon dioxide, some trace gases, and stabilized organic matter.

What is digested?

  • Dairy Manure
  • Food Waste

What is produced?

  • Digestate
  • Methane Gas

What are the benefits of digestion?

  • Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion on Farms
    • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Odor Reduction
    • Improvement of Water Quality
    • Generation of Renewable Fuel/Energy
    • Conservation and Utilization of Crop Nutrients
    • Revenue Potential
    • Pathogen Reduction
    • Pre-treatment
    • Co-digestion

What are the challenges?

  • Successful operation of the system on-farm
  • The economic value of generated power

Anaerobic Digestion General Resources