Skyridge Farms Project Profile
Dan DeGroot, owner of Skyridge Farms, a family dairy farm in Southern Washington, has a mission to produce dairy as sustainably as possible. With over three decades of farm operation, Skyridge has seen many improvements, including technology upgrades to improve living conditions for its cows and energy efficiency for its buildings. Before installing a manure management system, the facility pumped approximately 400,000 gallons of manure per day into an open lagoon where it was stored until it was ready to be used as fertilizer in the farm’s crop fields. As the manure sat stagnant in the open lagoon, anaerobic decomposition occurred, resulting in potent methane gas emissions.
To address these emissions and reduce the nutrient load of the fertilizer used in its field, Skyridge Farms preemptively installed a Livestock Water Recycling (LWR) First Wave System in 2019. The LWR system pumps the cow manure from the barns through a manure treatment system. By implementing a water treatment process, nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen are removed from the manure, resulting in reduced groundwater pollution and increased crop yields when applied as crop fertilizer.
The LWR system also produces a saleable byproduct of nutrient pellets, solids bedding for the herds, and cleaner wastewater that is sent to the lagoons and later used for field irrigation. The carbon revenue generated by the sale of carbon credits from this project helps the dairy cover the operating costs of the new equipment.
Installing the LWR First Wave System is crucial in the prevention of nutrient loading, which can lead to excessive growth of algae, called eutrophication.
The secondary separated solids opens up another stream of revenue for the family farm, through sales of the exported nutrient pellets.
The system allows the farm to utilize the primary separated solids as animal bedding, reduces the odor of the liquid waste, and improves cow safety through cleaner water for barn flushing.
The secondary separated solids also allows the farmers to more accurately control the nutrient loading in their fields, reducing groundwater pollution and increasing crop yield through cleaner irrigation water.