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Latest news for farmers in relation to poultry and egg farming.

Heat from biomass in the poultry industry

Cathal Ellis, Renewable Energy Technologist CAFRE, Greenmount

Raising broiler chickens is big business in Northern Ireland. Energy costs for heating broiler houses from around 32oC for the young birds lowering to 23oC by about the fifth week are considerable and can have major impact on gross margins. Houses have traditionally been heated using LPG air blown heater and canopy brooder systems.

Conversion to a biomass heating system can provide a cost effective, low carbon alternative to gas. Because biomass heating generates less moisture, the chicken litter is kept drier, reducing ammonia levels, boosting growth and improving bird welfare. With biomass fuel costing considerably less than fossil fuels, installing a biomass heating system can significantly reduce production costs.

A further income can be generated by availing of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which is a quarterly payment based on heat generated  by a renewable energy technology such as biomass boilers replacing a fossil fuel. A well-designed system can maximise RHI payments through the correct sizing of boilers and distribution throughout the farm. A typical payback of between 3 and 5 years can be expected.

Further information on such systems and farmer experiences in using them will be shared at the annual Practical On-Farm Renewable Energy Event at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Greenmount Campus, Antrim, which will be held this year on Tuesday 28th October opening at 11am. Attendees at the event will be able to visit the trade show and see and discuss the currently available renewable energy systems, attend seminars on the systems given by farmers who have already adopted the technologies and on the issues associated with renewable energy such as Finance, the RHI and payback times. There will also be an informed tour of the College’s biomass boilers. All are welcome to attend.

For further information on the event or on biomass heating systems please contact Cathal Ellis on 028 9442 6793 or e-mail cathal.ellis@dardni.gov.uk.


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