As we continue looking for ways to reduce greenhouses gases and recover excess nutrients from manure and put them to use where they are beneficial, one frequently faces the conundrum of how to do it and do it right.
There are lots of technologies that make great promises to do all sorts of things but many can’t do them reliably. And, of course there are good technologies that are reliable but, finding what works and distinguishing them from the bad is a challenge. If only someone would invest the time and energy to catalog what is out there and provide some sort of evaluation or at least basic information that could guide farmers in their sustainable quests. Farmers have been asking for something like that for years.
Thankfully those prayers have been heard and answered. Newtrient LLC has introduced a technology catalog, available at www.newtrient.com. The catalog is open-access; you just need to provide your name and email and you can then access it for free.
A great deal of effort has been put into it and over 150 technologies are now in the catalog. The focus is on manure and there are many technologies and vendors available for managing and creating manure-based products. And as they say on their website “It can be a challenge for dairy farmers to identify which ones might provide the best solution for their farms and business goals, so Newtrient has developed tools and a process to help.”
Easy to search
The catalog can be searched and utilized in a variety of ways. You can search by vendor, product or equipment type. For example, one click on Nutrient Recovery under the header Equipment will identify 58 different technologies that you can review. You can further refine your search by using Newtrient’s scoring systems or designation categories which are all thoroughly explained on the website. The top designation is “Newtrient Recognized,” which is bestowed to a technology that demonstrates high marks on the Newtrient 9-Point Technology Criteria and the business team is comfortable with what the technology does and what it claims to do.
What is the 9-Point Technology Criteria? It’s a scoring system that is focused on three broad areas: commercial viability, economics and industry value, and transparency and interaction. The full details are laid out well at the website, but suffice it to say, commercial viability addresses operational history and reliability and market penetration, economics looks at capital and operating costs and the overall value proposition and transparency involves the vendor’s information sharing and customer reviews.
Once you figure out what vendors, technologies or equipment you want further information on, Newtrient makes that easy with just another click. As I wrote this column, I decided to look at an “Emerging Technology,” which happens to be phosphorus-removal equipment from DVO Inc. The link gives me a company description, the technology description, photographs, address and contact information and Newtrient’s comments and opinions. In addition, there is a case study, technology insights and business insights. To say the least, there is a comprehensive amount of good information on this company and its technology.
Of course, there are many different type of technologies, products and vendors in the catalog. If you do not see what you are looking for as a category in the click-and-search areas, you can always use a search word. For example, I got 18 hits on the word “sand” which of course will bring up sand separation and related technologies.
The catalog is new; it was launched on March 1. The pre-launch feedback was very positive, especially from dairy farmers. As time goes by, more technologies, vendors and products will be added, evaluated and scored. They will receive Newtrient designations to help farmers understand what works. Newtrient has been very open during the creation process and has and will continue to solicit input from vendors and feedback from farmers to continuously improve the catalog.
I think the time and energy that Newtrient staff has invested in the catalog will pay off big time for the dairy industry in terms of garnering more interest and adoption of sustainable technologies. With that comes improvements and cost efficiencies. I strongly urge dairy farmers and those who work with manure-related sustainable products, services and equipment to visit Newtrient’s technology catalog and understand where the future is heading.