CFANS sees what others can't.
And when it comes to dairy production, we see a marriage of high energy going in and high energy going out.
Researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center are establishing a model "net-zero" energy dairy parlor where the same amount of energy consumed is also produced on-site through wind and solar power generation. The technology could help Minnesota dairies meet consumers' desire for more sustainably produced foods.
Operating a dairy barn is inherently energy-intense. But what if producers could make their own energy, on their own farms, using the power of the wind and sun? Researchers at the Morris, Minn., research center are studying effective ways to integrate on-site small wind and solar photovoltaic generation; analyzing the economics and environmental benefits of such systems; and sharing the results with Minnesota's dairy producers. The project is part of a larger effort to create a path toward greener agriculture that uses fewer resources and leaves a smaller environmental footprint while maintaining economic viability. The center's organic and conventional dairy herds, along with its tradition of renewable energy innovation, make it the ideal place to generate a collaboration between dairy and energy.
- The WCROC is the only university-sanctioned operation to raise conventional and organic dairy herds side-by-side, with 110 cattle in our organic herd and 130 cattle in our conventional herd.
- The center's 1.65 megawatt turbine provides the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) with 4.8 million kilowatt hours of power each year, more than half of the campus's annual electricity requirement.