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March, 2015

The PRO-DAIRY mission is to facilitate New York State economic development by increasing the profitability and competitiveness of its dairy industry.

In This Issue

  • PRO-DAIRY project evaluates coupling digesters and commercial greenhouses
  • 2015 Herd Health Nutrition Conferences
  • Winter Dairy Management 2015

PRO-DAIRY project evaluates technical and economic feasibility of coupling dairy manure-based anaerobic digesters with commercial greenhouses

In 2011, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared a goal of bringing one new manure-based anaerobic digestion (AD) system on-line per week. However, some real challenges need to be overcome to make this goal a reality. To help achieve this objective, the economics of farm-based AD systems need to be improved. Making use of AD surplus heat (currently wasted to the ambient atmosphere) and making better use of the electrical energy produced, is a real opportunity that needs to be developed. Greenhouses in the Northeast and other similar climates are energy-intensive and are therefore an excellent candidate to partner with AD systems to utilize their waste heat and surplus electrical energy.

To this goal, PRO-DAIRY installed energy monitors on farms as part of a 3-year funded project that seeks to develop, quantify and disseminate synergistic opportunities between anaerobic digesters and commercial greenhouses. The project aims to use real world data to expand a published research analysis that showed a digester could meet nearly all of the energy needs of a digester and an energy intensive greenhouse operation. The project started October 2012 and will finish September 2015.

In addition, PRO-DAIRY’s project includes the development of a series of user friendly computer programs. The first program predicts the heat and electricity production from an AD system, based on the farm and digester characteristics. The second program predicts the heat and electricity requirements of a user defined greenhouse. The third program combines the first two programs and allows a user to estimate the size of greenhouse facility that could be supported by a digester, or what proportion of the energy needs of a set greenhouse size could be met by a particular digester. These programs are anticipated to be available in September 2015.

A fact sheet with additional information is available under the manure and waste management resources section of PRO-DAIRY's Environmental Management page.

2015 Herd Health Nutrition Conferences

  • March 17, 2015 – Holiday Inn, Liverpool/Syracuse, NY
  • March 19, 2015 – Essex Resort and Spa, Essex Junction, VT

Presented by PRO-DAIRY and Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance. The Herd Health and Nutrition Conferences provide an opportunity for dairy producers, veterinarians, feed industry representatives and agriservice personnel to increase their knowledge of current herd health and nutrition management techniques while interacting with other professionals. For more information and to register, go to the Herd Health and Nutrition Conferences page on the PRO-DAIRY website.

Winter Dairy Management 2015

Winter Dairy Management meetings provide local access to current research. Register with your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. Farm Service Agency borrower credits are available for this program. A complete list of program dates, locations and registration information is online at the PRO-DAIRY website in the Save the Date section.

Program Agenda:

  • Impact of Milk Components on Milk Check: Jason Karszes, Betsey Howland, Kathy Barrett, Cornell PRO-DAIRY
  • Understanding Income Over Feed Costs and its Impact on Profitability: Jason Karszes, Betsey Howland, Dr. Tom Overton, Cornell PRO-DAIRY
  • Dairy Nutrition’s Impact on Milk Components: Dr. Tom Overton, Cornell PRO-DAIRY and Dave Balbian, Regional Dairy Specialist Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Farm Guest Speaker: Local farmer who increased profitability with increased milk components, including nutrition and environmental factors

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