John McIntosh finishes 2,000 cattle on an annual basis while also managing an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant on his farm at Dunragit, close to Stranraer in south-west Scotland.

The initial investment in AD was made around eight years ago. The feedstock for the system comprises a mix of cattle slurry and silage – grown on the farm.  

John explained: “In terms of our livestock business, we manage a herd of suckler cows with their progeny supplemented with bought-in stores.

“We have always committed to making best use of all the resources available to us on the farm. Given our location, we can grow excellent crops of high-quality grass. This is the main focus of the business, which can be used to drive both the beef and AD operations.

“We have always regarded slurry as a valuable fertiliser source. And of course, it constitutes a fundamental part of the feed stock mix used for the AD plant,” he added.

Anaerobic digestion

The efficient management of an AD operation means that the plant is operating at around 100% capacity on a 24/7 basis. This results in the digestate from the system being produced on a complementary basis.

“We have found the digestate from the plant to be a very high value fertiliser. But to make best use of the product, we need to find a more efficient way to store and transport it around the farm,” John explained.

Given this backdrop, John committed to invest in a 1,000,000 gallon, post-tensioned above-ground slurry store, as a means of giving him the year-round digestate storage capacity that he needs.

Moreover, the decision was taken to locate the tank on a site that is 500m from the main farmyard.

“The new set-up allows me to pump the digestate from the original store to the new tank via a 6″ underground pipe. A Doda pump meets this requirement in full.

“As a result, we can now easily access digestate at any point on the farm, whenever we need to.”

Moore Concrete, based in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, was commissioned to design, manufacture and install the aboveground store.

“Engaging the team to design and install the new aboveground store was an easy decision,” john McIntosh added.

“Our job was to prepare the site. Moore Concrete took care of everything else, from appointing the engineer to arranging all the necessary pre- and post-site checks.”

Moore’s above-ground tanks are available in three heights: 4m, 5m and 6m. This offers a wide range of capacities from 74,140 gallons to 1,034,000 gallons.