An essential part of our radical new farming model is an anaerobic digester. This lets us turn farm waste into valuable electricity and, as ever, we’ve done things a little differently from the industry norm.
Our anaerobic digester is a prototype – an experimental, micro digester. It is simple, robust, user (farmer) friendly and it’s about one third of the cost of normal industrial ones – bringing it within financial reach of many livestock farmers, I hope.
Electricity isn’t the only benefit from this cutting edge technology. The digester will turn plant-based waste from the farm together with our slurry into a more useful and less environmentally damaging fertiliser, while also producing all our electricity and hot water requirements, and more. In fact, in the longer term we are already thinking about how to use any surplus hot water to grow salad and veg for use in the Cream o’ Galloway visitor centre!
The anaerobic digester started working in late 2013 so this element of our new model is still a work in progress, but we are optimistic that it will make a significant difference to the way Rainton Farm operates, making it more sustainable and self sufficient in the long term. This is just one of many aspects of life at Cream o' Galloway and Rainton Farm that means we have been awarded a Gold award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme on each grading visit.
The AD was finally commissioned in mid-2014 and while we are still fine-tuning, we are now happy that it is delivering the electricity, hot water and fertiliser we had been hoping for.