On-Farm Innovation Ups Production, Sustainability at NSW Piggery

On-farm innovation ups production, sustainability at NSW piggery.

Edwina Beveridge, pig farmer in NSW, will open the conference sharing her perspectives on the need for innovation in Australia’s livestock industries.  An innovator herself, Edwina will also share the innovation applied in their system, and her understanding of the needs of the consumer.  We sat down with Edwina and asked her to tell us a bit about herself, her enterprise and the innovative solutions implemented to increase efficiency and decrease costs.

Who are you?

Along with my husband Michael I am the owner of a large pig farm in NSW, which runs 23,000 pigs. Our Blantyre Farms piggery enterprise in located near Young in New South Wales. Besides the intensive livestock enterprise, we also have a diverse family-run operation which incorporates cropping, beef cattle, wool and lamb production.

What are some of the innovative practices you have implemented on-farm?

We implement different technologies to help run a more sustainable and profitable enterprise. We were also one of the first farmers in Australia to build and implement a biogas digester system to recycle methane for electricity production. We also incorporate food by-products, such as fish fingers and chocolate milk, into the diet of our pig herd.

How are you able to utilise food by-products on-farm?

Using food processing by-products has reduced feed costs by about $100 a tonne. Products range from fish fillets, milk with an expired best-before date, bread meal (made from day-old bread) to failed confectionary. We have our own nutritionist and any time we purchase different by-products, he reconfigures our diets to ensure all of our animals are receiving a balanced and nutritional diet. It’s driven by the economics but it also has enormous environmental benefits, reducing manufacturing waste and landfill.

How has utilising biogas helped minimise emissions and costs?

The farm is one of a number of Australian pig enterprises mitigating and utilising waste for energy. Utilising biogas from covered anaerobic ponds has helped to reduce emissions on-farm by up to 80 per cent. It’s also been a huge cost saving – we’ve gone from spending $15,000 a month on the power and gas bill to getting in excess of $5000 a month for excess power sold to the grid. Reducing emissions has also helped us to generate carbon credits.

How does it work?

Effluent pits are flushed every day via a computer-controlled system with 15 million litres of manure stored in the covered dam. Methane is then captured and piped back to the piggery as electricity. Hot water is also heated from the generator and used to heat areas for piglets, further reducing the amount of power needed.

Details: Early-bird registrations are now open for Animal Production 2018, offering additional savings for ASAP members – visit www.asap.asn.au/2018-conference

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