Methane Recovery from Small Dairy Operations

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $123,834.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Matching Federal Funds: $450,000.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $127,000.00
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Ron Carlstrom
MSU Extension- Gallatin County

Annual Reports


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


  • Animal Production: manure management, preventive practices, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, application rate management
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, feasibility study, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: sanitation
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban/rural integration, sustainability measures


    2.0 SUMMARY

    This project designed and constructed an anaerobic digester system on a smaller sized (350 cow) dairy commonly found in the region. The system demonstrates a waste management system that: produces renewable energy; diversifies family farm income; reduces odors, pathogens, and greenhouse gas emissions; produces fertilizer, bedding material, and compost all while protecting the quality of the environment.

    Project objectives:


    This project has the following objectives:

    Develop a benchmark of sustainable agriculture for the dairy industry to increase profitability, lessen reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and showcase the power of partnerships to maintain the economic strength of local agriculture;

    Demonstrate the environmental benefits of anaerobic digestion: greenhouse gas reduction, nutrient conservation and recycling, odor and pathogen reduction, renewable energy production and utilization, and water quality protection;

    Showcase a sustainable agricultural practice that is designed with heavy producer involvement, which result in a reliable, easily maintained system; and

    Widely promote the project’s environmental and economical benefits to increase public education of the use of this technology.

    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.