Dairy farms have a vested interest in protecting the natural resources around their farms. For centuries, they’ve used traditional methods such as crop rotation and mulching to preserve the fertility of the land. Today, dairy farmers have even more options at their disposal to help reduce their environmental footprint and be sustainable.
Soil Friendly – Thanks to state-of-the-art manure handling equipment, storage facilities and application processes, it’s easy for farmers to get proper nutrients to the soil, while protecting against runoff and reducing air emissions. One way farmers handle manure is through modern mechanical separators, which separate the solids in manure from the liquid portion. The solids can be directly applied to cropland or composted and sold as organic fertilizer.
Another high priority for dairies is storing the solid and liquid manure until weather conditions are right for fertilizing the land. Many farmers use progressive lagoons to store and naturally treat the manure. In a lagoon, solids settle to the bottom and bacteria and microorganisms break down the manure resulting in a nutrient-rich wastewater with fewer odors.
A New Kind of Power! – Alternative energy is all the buzz these days and dairy producers are caught up in it, too. On some farms methane digesters are used to collect methane gas released from manure and convert it to energy. This is a renewable fuel that can be used to generate electricity for both the dairy and local community.
Nature Takes Its Course – One of the latest trends in farming is “conservation buffers” – large sections of grass and trees planted along streams, lakes and fields to help protect soil, air and water quality and improve fish and wildlife habitat. This prevents potential pollutants from reaching surface or ground water sources.