Extension News

Open House Features New Manure Digester and Separator Equipment


FAYETTE, Iowa -- An open house is scheduled at Top Deck Holstein Farm on June 13 at 1- 3:30 p.m.  Representatives from the company that supplied the generating and manure separator equipment, Alliant Energy personnel, ISU Extension personnel and the Top Deck Holstein owners will be on hand to present the data collected, demonstrate the recently installed equipment, and discuss how the operation works.


Top Deck Holsteins Farm at Westgate, Iowa installed a 700 cow manure digester in 2001 to generate electricity, reduce manure storage odor, save on their dairy heating costs and decrease bedding costs when used with the recently installed manure separator. It is the only manure digester working in Iowa. 


The project had three partners; Alliant Energy, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Top Deck Holstein Farm. Last August, Alliant Energy finished replacing the 150 horsepower engine and 30 kilowatt micro-turbine with four new 30 kilowatt Capstone micro-turbines and all new support equipment which was installed by Unison Solutions. 


In February, a manure separator was added as part of an NRCS-Conservation Innovation Grant. It has been operating since Feb. 13 and saving Top Deck more than $2,500 per month on their bedding costs according to Dan Meyer. Meyer is an Iowa State University (ISU) Extension agricultural field engineer in charge of the grant portion of this project. 


Two ISU specialists, Leo Timms, associate professor, Animal Science, and Robert Burns, professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, are co-partners on the grant which will be investigating the quality and quantity of the separated digested manure solids for free stall bedding and the nutrient content in the liquid and solid components of the separated digested manure. 


The farm is located on Highway C33 two miles west of Westgate or eight miles west of Maynard in northeast Iowa.  For additional information please contact Dan Meyer in the Fayette County Extension office at (563) 425-3331.



Contacts :

Daniel Meyer, field specialist, (563) 425-3331, djmeyer@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu