A more productive, higher tech farm - Thanks to biogas.


Biogas has led to a more productive and technologically advanced farm for cattle raiser Adolfo Matus. To achieve this result, Adolfo installed a large scale bio digester system (27 cubic meters) at his Santa Lucia farm, using the biogas produced to generate enough energy to power a double mechanical milking machine.

In addition, the biogas made by this bio digester provides energy for lighting and for cooking. The system, which was recently inaugurated by the PBN, together with cattle raisers and cooperatives from the Chontales area, has greatly enhanced the volume of milk produced on his farm and generated significant financial savings.

Before the introduction of the biogas system, Matus used two gallons of gasoline a day on an engine to operate the mechanical milking machine. This amounted to the equivalent of 95 córdobas (US$ 3,2) per year. This expenditure is now saved - thanks to the biogas system. However, it is worth remembering that there are not only financial advantages from switching to biogas, there are additional benefits, such as biogas powered lighting and organic bio fertilizer, a byproduct of biogas which also need to be considered.

"We have decided to use a mechanical milking machine as we know that to advance and be more productive, we need to leave some of these traditional farming methods behind. We need to move forward and look at what other, more developed countries are doing” Said Adolfo. We have to focus on the production process and invest in technology to facilitate the production of clean, healthy milk” Furthermore, it makes life easier and less labour intensive for the workforce which helps to improve employer and employee relations” Continued the owner of the Santa Lucia estate.

He added that the most important aspect of the plant is that it is a complete cycle "the energy produced from the biogas fuels the milking machine and with the waste product I am producing organic biol to fertilize my pastures," said the cattle raiser.

Biol production

He commented that during the days he operates the milking machine he obtains an average of 17 liters of milk per cow, from 67 cows per day, which means that his animals produce 720 liters of milk daily - a significant increased than from manual milking. Therefore, the introduction biogas has greatly improved productivity.

There are also environmental benefits to biogas. "This biogas system is used as a clean energy source helping to avoid burning wood or gasoline. As a consequence, we no longer produce damaging gas which is harmful for our health and the environment. "Said Matus. He added that the plant every day is supplied with 25 cans of manure and 15 cans of water for the milking machine and for the industrial kitchen which is used by the farm workers.

Cooking with biogas

Judith Vanegas, a communications consultant for the Dutch Development Cooperation Service, said: “Some 10 plants have already been installed in Chontales, they have a useful life of approximately 30 years and the investment in the biogas system is recovered in a maximum of 2 years.”

The system was installed under the framework of the Biogas Market Programme Nicaragua (PBN), which is funded by SNV Nicaragua, in partnership with HIVOS through an investment of 6.2 million dollars contributed by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the IDB Group (FOMIN), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), and local contributions.