January 10, 2023 | AD & Biogas, Climate

California Dairy Digesters

Top: Covered lagoon manure digester at the Open Sky Ranch in Riverdale, CA. Photo courtesy of Maas Energy

The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) and University of California, Davis (UC Davis) CLEAR Center released a new analysis of methane reduction progress titled, Meeting the Call: How California is Pioneering a Pathway to Significant Dairy Sector Methane Reduction. The paper, authored by livestock emissions and agricultural economics researchers at UC Davis concludes that efforts are on track to achieve the state’s target for reducing dairy methane emissions by 40% by 2030. “This analysis shows that California’s dairy sector is well on its way to achieving the target that was established by SB 1383 in 2016,” said CDRF’s Executive Director Denise Mullinax. “With much important work still ahead, a clear understanding of this pathway helps dairy farmers, policy makers, researchers, and other partners make decisions to strategically press forward.”

The report outlines the need for continued implementation of California’s four-part strategy for dairy methane reduction: farm efficiency and herd attrition, methane avoidance (alternative manure management), methane capture and utilization (digesters), and enteric methane reduction. For example, continued implementation of dairy manure digesters, which capture fugitive methane for beneficial reuse as renewable fuel replacing diesel in heavy duty trucks, is expanding rapidly and will deliver another approximately 4 MMTCO2e of reduction annually by 2030.

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