Eight dairy farmers gathered at World Dairy Expo on Thursday to share the real story behind dairy digesters.

Each dairy farmer shared the trials and tribulations that they went through when they built a digester on their farm. Here is a look at what they had to say:

  • You have to have one person who is responsible for the success of the digester.
  • The biggest challenge in selling excess energy for electricity is getting a hook-up to the utility company.
  • Know that deep-bedded stalls require more maintenance and work than sand. Sand is very forgiving.
  • You will produce quality bedding and have control over the bedding quality.
  • Don’t try to start up the digester in the winter months.
  • If you think it’s like a 2011 Chevy Malibu that you put the key in and run, you’ll be disappointed.
  • The anaerobic digestion technology and products available to the dairy industry have come a long way.
  • Don’t underestimate the mechanics of it.
  • Adding in stuff, i.e. waste products, fats or oils, is a challenge to manage production and quality of gas.
  • Consider removing the back 18 inches of deep-bedded stalls once a month.