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Manure cover program introduced in Manitoba


September 1, 2009
By Myron Love

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The Alberta government has joined forces with several counties in the province plus the local agriculture industry to launch a four-year project aimed at increasing the amount of liquid dairy manure being injected or applied through surface banding.
The Alberta government has joined forces with several counties in the
province plus the local agriculture industry to launch a four-year
project aimed at increasing the amount of liquid dairy manure being
injected or applied through surface banding.

p22_Starlite_01
The 1.5 million gallon manure lagoon at the Starlite Hutterite Colony near Starbuck, Man., was recently covered with a black, low linear polyethylene cover to help collect methane gas and control odors. Submitted photos


Calgary-based Preferred Carbon recently introduced its swine manure
lagoon cover program to the province of Manitoba, unveiling its newest
installation at the Starlite Hutterite Colony, located near Starbuck,
Man.

The installation marks the completion of more than two years of work
and negotiations with the provincial government for Bruce Love,
director of Preferred Carbon, and Farmer’s Edge, an independent
crop-consulting firm that partnered on the project. Although Preferred
Carbon has installed several covers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the
Manitoba government was slow to issue permits for the pilot project.
Weather was also a factor in construction delays.

“What kept us going through the setbacks was the commitment and enthusiasm of the Starlite Colony folks,” said Love.

p22_Starlite_02
 
Curtis MacKinnon (left) of Farmers Edge, an independent crop-consulting firm, and Bruce Love (right), director of Preferred Carbon, stand on top of the manure lagoon cover installed at the Starlite colony.


 

When approached by Preferred Carbon, officials with the colony were
open to the idea of having the 200 by 350 foot black, low linear
polyethylene cover installed over their 1.5 million gallon lagoon. One
of the largest problems facing the 600-sow, farrow to finish farming
operation have been complaints about smell coming from local neighbors.

The permanent cover is expected to last about 10 years and will help
eliminate any odors while preventing methane gases – a major culprit in
global warming – from escaping into the atmosphere. “Methane gas is 21
times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide,” said Love.

The methane is collected under the cover and piped into an electronic
measuring device to monitor the amount of gas being produced. It is
then piped to a chimney and flared off.

The University of Manitoba Bio Systems Engineering Department plans on
conducting research at the site examining methane production, crop
nutrient management and odor control.

Ray Borys, an engineer with Manitoba Hydro present for the program
launch, noted the Starlite Colony could use some of the methane gas
produced to warm their weanling and turkey barns. The operation
currently uses coal for that purpose. Manitoba Hydro has an
energy-saving program where the utility will pay the colony 15 cents
per kilowatt-hour for the first year if the colony members switch from
coal to methane.

Love noted that no government money was involved in financing the pilot project, estimated to be worth about $100,000.

While methane does not yet qualify for carbon credits, the colony could
receive credits for the work performed by the cover in the future.

Preferred Carbon specializes in aggregating and developing greenhouse
gas offset projects in agriculture and renewable energy in Canada. The
company is the only one in Canada making carbon-based investments on
farms in western Canada.

Farmers Edge is an independent crop-consulting firm with expertise in
variable rate crop inputs. Farmers Edge is a partner of Preferred
Carbon in the delivery of agricultural carbon credit programs to
farmers.

While Preferred Carbon brought the capital and expertise for the
Starlite Colony lagoon cover project, it is through Farmers Edge that
farmers are able to participate in a number of carbon credit based
programs, including manure and land management programs that create
carbon credits.


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