Monday, July 13, 2009

Cows Are Effecient Fuel Producers

Ag Engineer: Animal manure management could go 'green'
Manure has the potential to make dairies energy self-sufficient
July 10, 2009 Writer(s): Robert Burns, 903-834-6191,

COLLEGE STATION -- A recent Texas AgriLife Research survey of Texas and California dairies found that cows, like people, are big energy users.

That's the bad news. The good news is there's enough potential energy within the manure dairy cows produce to pay their electrical bill and more -- a lot more, according to Dr. Cady Engler, AgriLife Research agricultural engineer.

"Total energy usage ranged from as low as 464 kilowatt hour per year per animal for a pasture dairy in Northeast Texas to as high as 1,637 kilowatt hour for a hybrid facility in Central Texas," Engler said.

"The estimated daily potential energy availability from manure – 25 kilowatt hours per day per cow – is much greater than the average daily on-farm energy requirement of 3.2 kilowatt hours per day per cow," he said.

Engler will be presenting a paper, "Energy Usage Survey of Dairies in the Southwestern United States" at the upcoming Texas Animal Manure Management Issues, scheduled Sept. 29-30 at the Austin Marriott North in Round Rock. More information can be found at the conference's Web site at Read More

One of the things that is very aggravating for me is to hear people refer to manure as waste. It’s far from it. This is not only a valuable nutrient that vastly improves the ability of plants to grow and produce, but it could also become a very valuable source of energy. This concept is nothing new. Dried manure was often used as heating fuel by our ancestors as they attempted to settle this country. It wasn’t considered a waste product then and it shouldn’t be now. The efficiencies of cattle and their ruminant digestive system have always been a marvel and they are proving it again to us.

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