Lamb Farms is a third generation farm that includes five farms on three properties (this case study pertains to Farm #1, which has an anaerobic digester). Since 1966 when the farm was founded, it has grown from 110 cows to 2400 milking cows. In addition to growing corn and alfalfa, Lamb Farms also grows some cash crops such as peas and wheat.
A methane digester installed in 2010 powers the whole farm. Primary goals at the onset of the digester construction included producing electricity and enhancing farm revenues, both of which Lamb has achieved. Nevertheless, the revenue generated from the AD is more like a cost offset for electricity than an actual gain. This largely has to do with the yogurt company Chobani having moved out of state. Prior to this change, Lamb had made significant earnings off the company’s tipping fees.
Although the farm did not originally consider producing and/or selling bedding as one of their goals, they have nonetheless done so successfully. They are using all of their digestate to make bedding, which then produces 75% of what the cows feeding the digester require.
IFES Number: 55
Type of Firm: Farm
Main Products: Dairy; Bedding
Size of Firm: 2400 milking cows; 9000 total tillable acres
Ownership Type: Private
Energy System Components: Anaerobic digester
Operational Status: Operational
Year Installed: 2010
Energy Feedstock: Manure from 1,100 cows; 6000 gallons/day of Dixon’s waste product (whey) + clean-out waste from a local milk processing plant
Energy Produced: 350 kWh/day
Energy Uses: Electricity
Fossil Energy Inputs Replaced: Propane
New co-products: Bedding
Money Saved: $20,000/yr for offset of propane
TCO2 Eq Avoided: 12,041 CO2E/yr