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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Panel of experts search for new methods for manure treatment and management

Milk is good for your bones, but its production is creating a big problem with air and water pollution.

According to a recent UC Davis press release, manure being produced in dairies releases chemicals that are impacting air, water and climate quality.

California produces 21 percent of the national milk supply and grosses $6 billion a year in other dairy products, making pollution a large issue for the state.

To combat the growing problem, UC Davis is working with California Air Resources Board and other organizations to find the best manure treatment processes used by vendors.

According to the California Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel website, vendors were invited to share information about the technology and methods used for treatment to a panel of government officials, industry and academic leaders and environmental and conservation group members.

Deanne Meyer, a Cooperative Extension livestock waste management specialist in UC Davis’ animal science department, said in a press release, We are asking vendors to provide us with scientific data on what their technology accomplishes and how it works, as well as how much it costs and whether it has already been certified for use.

The advisory panel is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and will objectively assess each entry for its effectiveness.

Some vendors may be chosen to make in-person presentations to the panel. Each vendor will be asked to summarize the improvements of their technology, as well as the possible faults.

In the last round of reviews, the panel found few methods for treatment that covered all the important concerns and impacts to the environment.

The panel is hoping that vendors will present technology that addresses the impact to every aspect of the industry. In the last round, the panel used categories including thermal conversion, anaerobic digestion and feed management.

Manure emits several chemicals that contribute to air pollution, such as particulate matter, hydrogen sulfide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

The emissions from the dairies are not only from manure and wastewater, but also from cropland where manure is used, animal housing, storage areas for feed and equipment.

To add to the growing problem, the number of cows in California has grown immensely in the last three decades, reaching 1.8 million. Of that amount, 75 percent are in the San Joaquin Valley alone. However, the number of dairies has decreased to less than 2,000.

The concentration of the manure in areas is much larger as a result, making pollution concentration correspondingly larger.

The submission deadline for the second round of dairy environmental technology reviews passed Mar. 27.

 

VIOLET SALAZAR can be reached at science@californiaaggie.com. XXX

 

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