On-farm energy use boosts poultry manure value

Farm poultry manure has a value of £100 a tonne when used for energy generation, versus £10 a tonne if sold off farm as a fertiliser, poultry producers were told during a recent industry visit to Uphouse Farm, Norfolk.

Invited to Nigel and Patrick Joice’s extensive Uphouse poultry operation as part of the NFU’s Poultry Industry Programme (PIP), the visiting group of producers, feed suppliers and union representatives, were given a detailed account of how poultry manure is being put to profitable use in helping to meet more than 90% of the farm’s annual heating requirements.

The group was also told that, having installed their first manure-to-energy plant in 2011, the father and son team are currently preparing for the arrival of a new energy unit at Uphouse next month, with the expectation of contributing electricity towards on-farm requirements, plus heat for use in the poultry shed and for grain drying operations in a nearby building which they are currently constructing.

“The current system produces over 90% of the farm’s heat requirements and has allowed us to cut our fuel costs significantly,” Patrick told the PIP group. “In addition, our experience is that the chickens are healthier and maturing to target weight quicker, than would otherwise be the case.”

The Uphouse system is managed remotely by Ireland-based suppliers, BHSL, an arrangement which frees Nigel and Patrick to devote their time to running their 16-shed poultry farm and other businesses.

“Our manure-to-energy technology has already been installed at Uphouse and another major site in the UK, with a strong pipeline of further orders expected to be completed this year,” BHSL founder, Jack O’Connor, told the PIP group, whose programme was supported by ABF Feed Millers.

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