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Elmar Theune: Climate-Smart Dairy Webinar


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As part of an ongoing collaboration on Climate-Smart Agriculture between UC Davis, Wageningen University, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Air Resources Board, this webinar focused on the challenges and opportunities for dairy farming as it relates to a changing climate.

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Elmar Theune: Climate-Smart Dairy Webinar

  1. 1. Climate-Smart Agriculture Webinars December 1st 2016 Manure digestion The valley of death Elmar Theune
  2. 2. Dutch Agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions • 2016: Dutch Agriculture is responsible for 14% of Dutch greenhouse gas emissions (26,4 Mton). • Since 1990 a reduction of 20%. 2 december 2016 Ministerie van Economische Zaken2
  3. 3. Dairy cattle and greenhouse gases 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 0 4 8 12 16 20 (jaar 2000 = 100%) CO2-eq (Mton) Emissie veehouderij (zie as links) aantal runderen (relatief, zie as rechts) melkaanvoer fabriek (relatief, zie as rechts) pigs; 2,6 Other livestock; 1,3 energy; 0,3 CH4 rumen; 7,3 CH4 manure; 2,2 Dairy cattle; 9,8 Blue line: emission life stock farming (Mton) Blue dots: milk production (%) Red dots: number of cattle (%)
  4. 4. 2 december 2016 Ministerie van Economische Zaken4 Manure digestion • Methane production is the result of biological processes. • Rumen fermentation is hard to diminish. Research is ongoing. • The technology for manure digestion is available (prototypes; demonstration projects), but is not used. • The business case for manure digestion requires too much to subsidize (NB: the Dutch Subsidy for Sustainable Energy is a tender that subsidizes the cheapest options first)
  5. 5. Valley of death: • The manure digester has to be customized to each farm. Too expensive àNo renewable energy subsidy by the government. • Manure digestion is not the core business of farmers. àNo priority for investment and no willingness to do maintenance. • Few installations àNo teams available for failure management. • The banks had no confidence àNo business case; no finance. 2 december 2016 Ministerie van Economische Zaken5
  6. 6. Suggested solution by the dairy sector The Sustainable Dairy Chain (by mouth of FrieslandCampina) proposed a solution: • The sustainable Dairy Chain guaranties a certain quantity of installations. • The farmers are enabled to lease the digester. • Installation firms develop three standard manure digester and have teams for failure management. • The price can drop and the business case improves. • To make this possible the ministry is asked for a temporary subsidy. 2 december 2016 Ministerie van Economische Zaken6
  7. 7. Reaction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs The ministry is not in favor of specific subsidies. But: • Climate change and the energy transition are major policy issues. • The dairy sector has limited options for greenhouse gas reduction. • Manure digestion is a serious option for greenhouse gas reduction. • Methane is a source of renewable energy. So: • The minister has decided in favor of a specific subsidy for manure digestion. • A open tender on price is organized for about 200 mono-digesters. 2 december 2016 Ministerie van Economische Zaken7