Louie Kazemier

March 5, 2009 06:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Louie Kazemier
Rickreall, Ore.
With milk prices where they are, it's hard to think about renewable energy projects. We're losing $8,000 a day on the milk we're producing, and we don't have $10,000 to spend on a study.

But thanks to a grant from USDA and the Energy Trust of Oregon, we're in the process of putting new lights in our barns. Stripping out the old 450-watt metal halide lights and installing 250 new 50-watt T5 fluorescent lights will cost $85,000.

The grants will cover 75% of that. The new lights will reduce our monthly electricity bill from $3,000 to $1,000. That means the new lighting will pay for itself in a year.

I've been working for six years to put a
digester on my dairy. My philosophy is that a digester shouldn't cost us at all, and we should also realize profits from it. But every time I start the paperwork with a company to install and run the project, they want collateral from me. And so I pull the plug on the project.

Here in Oregon, we've promoted the idea of scrubbing manure-generated methane, putting it in a truck and shipping it to Salem for use in our public transit buses. Right now they use propane. We just need to get to the point where dairy producers can make money from it.

For dairy digesters to be successful, we've got to think way outside the box. We're getting closer.

Kazemier's January Prices  
Milk (3.56% bf, 3.01% prt): $13.06/cwt. (gross)
Cull cows: $44/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,500/head
Top-quality alfalfa (delivered) $245/ton
Flaked corn (2009 contracted) $280/ton

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