Looking at the manure-management technologies that currently exist and the new and emerging technologies, Newtrient provides a reliable, third-party technology evaluation tool for the dairy industry. Three years of time and effort has been put into evaluating almost 300 technologies that are included in the catalog, over half of which are related to biogas production or digestate management. Newtrient launched an open-source, technology catalog in 2017 that provides a comprehensive listing of relevant and readily available dairy manure management technologies in the U. S.
What we do?
The U.S. dairy industry is voluntarily playing a critical role in working “towards sustainability” (Scott & Gooch, 2017). As a result of industry consolidation, manure treatment technologies are being developed and marketed that target larger operations. The goal is to help farms work on continuous improvement on sustainability issues while operating at larger scale. Unfortunately, the efficacy and economics of the treatment technologies are not always well established. As a result, the relative costs and impacts are often difficult to compare, although its importance is realized.
Newtrient, on behalf of the U.S. dairy industry, formed a Technology Assessment Team (TAT) in 2016, comprised of a cross section of academic and industry professionals with in-depth expertise in dairy manure management. One of the first tasks assigned to the TAT was to conduct systematic verification and catalog available dairy manure treatment technologies in the United States. The ongoing effort by Newtrient is to identify and evaluate available dairy manure treatment technologies which has resulted in the Newtrient online Technology Catalog (Catalog) with over 240 entries (Newtrient, 2019).
Many lessons have been learned during the development of the Newtrient Technology Catalog. One of the most important is that it is necessary to develop a standard, easy to use way of presenting the information on many differing technologies and companies, the Newtrient TAT does this in a variety of ways including:
- Company description – We work with each vendor to provide a brief description of the company, its mission and its history.
- Technology description – A succinct and informative overview of the technology and how it works is the goal and this, combined with an image or flow chart, is often enough for the average visitor.
- Business information – A vendor-completed Newtrient Business Information Request (BIR) form can be viewed or downloaded when additional information is desired.
- Technology information – A vendor-completed Newtrient Technology Information Request (TIR) is also available on line providing additional technical details including what it takes to install and make the technology work.
- Expert reviews – Expert opinion and evaluation of technologies from the Newtrient TAT provide insight and perspective that is not available anywhere else.
- Newtrient 9-Point Score – A quick and intuitive visual reference that provides answers to 9 specific questions in three categories, chosen to help set a standard for technologies and a basis for comparison. The nine points include the following:
- COMMERCIAL VIABILITY
- OPERATIONAL HISTORY – Is this technology currently operational on at least three North American dairy farms?
- OPERATIONAL RELIABILITY – Does this technology have record of reliable performance of more than 12 months at each of at least three farms?
- MARKET PENETRATION – Has this technology been installed on at least 10 North American dairy farms?
- ECONOMICS & INDUSTRY VALUE
- CAPITAL COST – Has information on the installed capital costs been clearly defined and communicated to the Newtrient TAT?
- OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE COST – Are the actual operations and maintenance costs clearly defined and communicated to the Newtrient TAT?
- VALUE PROPOSITION – Does this technology or the products it makes, deliver to the farm identifiable economic, environmental, or community value (e.g. reduced cost, increased income, reduced odor, improved nutrient use, etc.)?
- TRANSPARENCY & INTERACTION
- VENDOR INFORMATION SHARING – Has the company provided complete and verified Newtrient BIR and TIR documents to Newtrient?
- CASE STUDY – Has a case study demonstrating the performance claimed by the vendor been completed by the Newtrient TAT?
- CUSTOMER REVIEWS – When asked how likely is it they would recommend this technology to a colleague; have at least three customers scored the technology at least a 7 out of 10?
- COMMERCIAL VIABILITY
- Highlighting Technologies – Newtrient reviews technologies and provides recognition for those that have proven themselves, show potential or have not engaged with Newtrient but are actively marketing to dairymen. The three categories are:
- Newtrient Recognized: for technologies that are proven in the field.
- Emerging Technology: for technologies that show significant promise.
- Not Vendor Verified: for vendors who have not worked with Newtrient to verify and validated the information regarding their business or technology.
- Newtrient Evaluation & Assessment of Technologies (NEAT) – After the catalog was first introduced it became obvious that there was additional work that was needed regarding the impact of each technology on key environmental areas. In response, the TAT developed the NEAT process for evaluating technologies and their impacts on six key areas (see accompanying paper presented at this conference on the NEAT process).
The Newtrient Technology Catalog is ever changing and being updated; new technologies are added regularly, BIRs and TIRs are updated, new case studies are written, and new functionality is added regularly. The catalog was recently updated to accommodate outcomes of applying the NEAT process to select technology types. Additionally, the TAT is evaluating inclusion of the following:
- NRCS Conservation Practice Standards and guide to USDA grant programs
- Feed and manure additives with a system for comparing their efficacy and economics
- Directories of resources for help in nutrient management planning, engineering, and other professional services related to manure treatment/nutrient management
- Expanding and updating the Newtrient TIR to include all of the information needed to qualify a technology for USDA grant and cost share programs
Mark Stoermann, Chief Operating Officer, Newtrient LLC.
Curt Gooch, Environmental Systems Engineer, PRO-DAIRY Dairy Environmental System Program, Dept. of Animal Science, Cornell University.
Additional information, including business information, technical information and case studies on technologies, is available on the catalog page of the Newtrient website: https://www.newtrient.com
Newtrient, LCC and the papers authors thank the following supporters of Newtrient: Agri-Mark, Inc.; Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.; Dairy Management Inc.; Foremost Farms USA; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Maryland Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.; Michigan Milk Producers, National Milk Producers Federation; Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.; Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.; Select Milk Producers, Inc.; Southeast Milk, Inc.; St. Albans Cooperative Creamery; Tillamook County Creamery Association; and United Dairymen of Arizona.
The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.