Anaerobic digestion can boost crop fertility

An extension manure management specialist suggests anaerobic digestion can boost crop fertility.

Melissa Wilson with the University of Minnesota says digestate tends to make nitrogen in manure more plant available.

“So it can make it a more useful fertilizer source. And when fertilizer prices are really high like they are right now, it can really help with that aspect.”

She likens a digester to a stomach as it breaks down food.

“In this case carbon, which is in manure. And there’s some nitrogen tied to carbon, so when the carbon is broken down and releases gas, the nitrogen is also converted into a plant-available form.”

She reminds farmers nutrients can change form during the process so application rates and timing might need to be altered.

Brownfield interviewed Wilson during the Minnesota Renewable Energy Roundtable at Farmamerica near Waseca in south-central Minnesota.

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