Evaluation of Manure Treatment Technologies

Researcher: Dr. Deanne Meyer, UC Davis Department of Animal Science
Timeline: January – December 2024

Background: Last year, the USDA-funded Dairy PLUS Program was established with CDFA. New potential technologies may be eligible for grant-funding through the Dairy PLUS program, however, these technologies need to be studied for efficacy and economic viability. Only approved technologies can be funded through the program.

It is critical to continue to test and approve advanced manure management practices in California that address both GHGs and nutrient surplus since more than 90% of California’s milk is produced in the San Joaquin Valley on dairies located in priority one nitrate management zones. The quantity of nitrogen excreted out-paces the ability to utilize nitrogen for optimum crop and soil benefits while maintaining or improving groundwater quality. Additionally, implementation of plans associated with sustainable groundwater management will require modification to farming practices (fallowing land, alternative crops) to account for less water available for farming. For this project, researchers will observe several potential technologies in use on-farm, identify an appropriate sampling protocol, and sample to identify nutrient and volatile solids removal as well as determine if the technologies can be utilized on California dairy operations.

Industry Benefit: This project will provide critical information for those interested in potentially adopting advanced manure treatment technologies as well those interested in potentially modifying animal management to change manure composition. Many vendors are aggressively targeting dairy operators with claims of environmental improvements or compliance with various regulations guaranteed. Having site-specific fact-based information will provide producers with the information they need to identify value of technology.