Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published by University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Livestock Environmental Issues Committee.


The Economic Potential of Methane Recovery for Swine Operations: Projected Impacts of Various Public-Policy Scenarios

Economic analyses were performed on anaerobic digestion of manure from finishing operations. The main factors considered were herd size (1,000 head; 3,500 head; and 10,000 head) and method of financial support provided (cost-share program, no-interest loans, tax subsidies, and subsidized electrical sales).
Installation of a digester system is a significant investment that is currently very difficult to justify economically to Nebraska producers based upon consideration of readily quantifiable income and expenses, regardless of farm size. Swine finishing operations looking to invest in this technology would benefit most from a no-interest loan or cost-share program – policies that relate directly to the capital cost incurred. Larger operations are more likely to place a value on odor control and would experience a lower unitized effective cost than smaller operations. The effective cost may still be unwieldy in an industry with tight profit margins, however.