Seabreeze Farms is located in the metropolitan area of Vancouver British Columbia Canada, where real estate prices are among the highest in the world. As the owner was looking for ways to increase his dairy farm’s revenue and also effectively manage the manure and nutrients from his dairy cows, a solution had to be found that would drive productivity without involving the purchase of expensive land.
What it looks like today
The owner decided to focus on technical innovation and efficient use of existing resources; and their farm manure became a strategic opportunity for future growth. The manure is now producing gas and direct cash revenues and the manure’s fibre is manufactured into cow bedding, which is a significant cost saver in the daily farm operations. In addition, the solids in the manure liquid are converted into captured nutrients, which provides a concentration of more easily stored nutrient for use as fertilizer on the own farm or for external markets. Another side benefit is the abundance of clarified, recycled water for non-potable use around the farm or nutrient tea of the fields. It also opens up the opportunity for a significant herd expansion without acquiring additional land.
The nutrient recovery technology laid the groundwork for the farm’s future growth opportunities. The herd size can now be doubled or tripled without the need of acquiring more land, which represents millions of dollars in future land acquisition savings. An expended herd on the other side could potentially represent millions in additional sales of milk, bio-gas and nutrient fertilizer.
The steps to get there
After the implementation of an anaerobic digester bio-gas plant, the farm was able to produce and sell methane gas to the local natural gas utility. But this also created the challenge of excess nutrients from the digester, which for their location was deemed an environmental hazard. A nutrient management plan had to be established.
Next, we implemented Trident’s Bedding and Nutrient Recovery System to convert the digested waste material coming from the anaerobic digester into fiber material and nutrients. The large cellulose fiber from the digested manure was separated and converted into barn bedding for the cows, saving them tens of thousands of dollars in imported bedding material and eliminating that large volume of material from filling up the lagoon.
Finally, the Trident Nutrient Recovery System converted the remaining liquid material into water and concentrated NPK nutrients. This concentrate, with 98% less water, could be dry-stored and used for fertilizing their crops, sold off-farm as a nutrient concentrate, and used for research into further processing into new commercial organics-based fertilizer.