Digester performance tracking, analysis, and lessons learned review at Freund’s Farm,

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,979.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $13,150.00
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Christopher Callahan
Callahan Engineering, LLC

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: manure management, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Soil Management: composting, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will provide Freund’s Farm, Inc. with increased understanding regarding the current performance of the methane digester installed on their farm in order to enhance the digester’s performance.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Freund’s Farm, Inc., is a 230 cow dairy in Northwest CT that has been operating a digester for 8 years with significant labor and maintenance burden. The digester is considered an integral part of the farm’s nutrient management plan and also provides heat to farm buildings. Additionally, the Freunds have embarked on the development of an innovative, value-added, off-farm product which could incorporate several digester outputs. This product family currently includes planting pots (“COWpots”) and weed barrier paper (“COWpaper”) which can be made from fibers, nutrients, and heat extracted from the digester.

    The work involved in this project will provide a database of digester knowledge that will enable the consistent, reliable, repeatable performance of the digester by leveraging industrial data collection, quality control and systems engineering principles. The lessons learned from this project will be distributed to other farmers and interested parties through workshops, tours and publication.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.