Dairy finds success adding fertilizer production

A Wisconsin dairy farm has added a new revenue stream to the operation thanks in part to a USDA program.

J.J. Pagel with the Dairy Dreams farm near Casco, Wisconsin tells Brownfield they were able to use a grant from USDA’s Fertilizer Production Expansion Program, or FPIP, to extract more from their dairy manure. “It gives us the ability to use our nutrient recovery program and we create three products. We have a phosphorus product, a nitrogen product, and then we end up with a third, clean water at the end.”

Pagel says the manure from their approximately 2,950 cows goes through a digester, creating natural gas that is made available for commercial trucks.  After that, he says the manure still has additional uses. “It runs through a screw press system and through a dryer, and we’re using all of the fiber to make bedding for our cows before it even gets to our nutrient concentration system, and at that point, we’ll separate it into the different nutrient contents and different nutrient streams.”

Pagel says the farm will be able to re-use much of the nitrogen from the process and have phosphorus fertilizer they can sell to other farms.  He says by concentrating the nutrients, it will allow them to apply less product to get the same results.  Pagel says the reclaimed water at the end of the process is very clean and will be used for everything from cooling cows to washing equipment.

Audio: J.J. Pagel discusses the nutrient concentration system with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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