“We believe in growing high quality food right here in Alberta in the most sustainable way possible,” says Kendra Donnelly of Korova Feeders in Acme. Korova is developing a new productive system that will serve as a model for other feedlots in Alberta. The innovative system involves the integration of Rolled Compacted Concrete (RCC) for pen floor surfacing and an onsite pioneering bio-digestor technology to upgrade manure as a feedstock to produce biomethane. This project is anticipated to achieve emission reductions from avoided organic waste decomposition and the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) from waste to displace fossil natural gas. “The change in RNG pricing and the introduction of Clean Fuel Standards (and other policy by provincial and federal governments) is another main reason for why we think bio-digester may work in feedlot sector,” adds Donnelly.
Emissions Reduction Alberta sees the same potential and value in the project as Korova does and recently awarded them $5 million towards the $20,400,000 project. A GHG reduction of 0.73 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e)/head/yr is expected, totalling approximately 25,000 tCO2e for around 34,000 cattle at the feedlot.
Korova Feeders has already implemented RCC technology on their feedlot, so the manure will be more usable to the biodigester than manure from a standard feedlot. RCC was developed in the 1960s, but its application in the feedlot world is still relatively new. The benefits for cattle health, feedlot efficiencies and environmental performance are all being studied, but feedlots using the product have already observed:
– Reduced pen dust, which improves air quality, as well as water quality in the dugouts near the pens
– Reduced loss of clay every time a pen is cleaned. This means less pen maintenance, and also reduces the emissions created by trucks hauling away manure mixed with clay and
– Less mud in pens gives cattle more room to roam and promotes foot health.
“Sustainability is our ultimate motivation across our family businesses; we continue to be innovative to find opportunities for circular systems like the new production system where we can utilize our waste (manure and other organics) for fuel production, heat utilization, nutrient management, water recycle all while producing high quality beef, fruits, and vegetables,” says Donnelly. “It’s a dream, but we are seeing it come to life across the world with innovative technologies being paired with multiple types of production systems.”
Learn about the benefits of roller compacted concrete from ACFA member KCL Cattle here