Friday, June 11, 2010

Integrated Animal Production System at EARTH University, CR


The Integrated farm at EARTH University was established in 1993. Its purpose is to teach students about animal production as well as a learning center for local farmers and visitors. The Integrate farm is unique in that it practices sustainable farming methods. Not even animal manure is wasted. They are run through a biodigestor to great methane gas which is used in the production of energy for cooking and generating electricity on the campus. After the gas is extracted, the byproducts can be used as an organic fertilizer which reduces the need for harmful chemical fertilizers.


This is the corral where the cows are milked. This process is educational for the students and can be experienced hands on. The sows have access to pastures, and are given and adequate amount of feed, water, and minerals to increase their milk production. Through the sale of male calves, milk, organic fertilizers, and pigs raised at the farm, EARTH receives income which benefits the University.


Goats are another animal EARTH raises. Goats have free range of grass and provide lawn care services in return.


Pigs are fed scraps from the cafeteria which is better for the environment. The animal manure is then moved into the biodigester where decomposition and the removal of harmful bacteria takes place.

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The picture to the left shows the biodigester which starts the production of methane gas. As the manure level rises, it flows into the sedimentation canals pictured on the right.


Finally it flows into the decomposition pond. Algae growing on the water helps with decomposition. Tilapia live in the pond and alligators feed on the fish and algae. The methane gas created in the biodigestor can be used to create energy and the byproducts are used as organic fertilizer. The excess water can be reused in future processes.

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