Get ready, we’re about to talk about poop. Maybe that makes you giggle, maybe it makes you cringe, or maybe it raises your enthusiasm, because you know that poop has a lot of potential. As Midwesterners, many of us are familiar with the advantages of manure as a fertilizer, but advances in technology are creating more opportunities.

Traditionally, the approach to manure management has been to spread it over farm fields, as it is too expensive to ship elsewhere. However, there are risks in this, including potential runoff into waterways and the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, as it decomposes.

Anaerobic digestion is a technology that addresses these issues and is gradually gaining acceptance at US dairy farms. Biogas from this process is burned to generate electricity and can be upgraded to the equivalent of natural gas. Plus, the residue can be used in many ways, as fertilizer, as animal bedding, or even made into biodegradable planting pots. Read the article from BioCycle to learn more about how dairy farms are using anaerobic digestion. BioEnergy Consult also has an informative article, and you can learn where biogas is being used in Nebraska HERE.

For a deeper dive into this subject, Newtrient is an organization that facilitates connections and opportunities for farmers, technology providers, and manure-based product developers. Their technology catalog provides a tool to help farmers discover technology options.