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See what farms are using for nutrient management, from anaerobic digesters and storage to field application and emissions.


Every dairy farm, no matter the size, has to manage its production site waste. Production site waste, for the purpose of this article, is any material or its byproduct that requires routine management or handling and can be land-applied.

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The choice of freestall base and bedding is a critical decision and should reflect management style and goals. Sand is the gold standard for a freestall base and bedding.

Maintaining a bed of loose sand, six inches minimum in depth, enhances cow comfort, improves lying time, contributes to good udder health/ clean cows and improves cow footing.

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Anaerobic digestion to turn waste into energy is a topic that continues to garner growing interest from the agricultural community – and rightfully so. The benefits of biogas systems are many and they span the environmental, societal and economic arenas.

Economics drive the pursuit of co-digestion, which is the addition of organic waste materials to manure. Manure, an already digested material, yields relatively little energy in comparison to some organic waste materials.

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As one of the stops on the Progressive Dairy Operators’ (PDO) mini-bus tour in September, Athlone Farms Inc. opened its doors to allow visitors a look at its most recent expansion.

Instead of building another barn and hoping to purchase enough quota to fill it, Brian and Wendy Anderson, along with their son-in-law and daughter, Dennis and Heather Peters, and their son, Alex Anderson, opted to build an aerobic digester and start another business entity under the name Athlone Bio Power Inc.

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Manure handling in the barn is really important for barn and herd management:

Dairy cows that are clean and comfortable may profit more from their genetic potential and be less easily hit by environmental pathogens such as heel warts and mastitis.

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In an effort to reduce nutrient losses from manure applied to cropland, a number of best management practices have been created.

They were crafted using the best available information at the time and, ever since, researchers continue to analyze if they are the best or if they could be better.

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