A unique plan to use a giant vacuum to collect manure from dairy farms and convert it to renewable energy will be one of 14 innovative projects to share in more than $3.7 million from the Coles Nurture Fund.
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Effluent on farms is a major issue and Coles is supporting a plan to convert manure into biogas.

Coles will provide grants to 14 small and medium-sized businesses that are implementing plans to improve sustainability and produce more Australian food and beverages.

The latest grants bring the total financial support provided by the Coles Nurture Fund to more than $28 million since 2015.

NSW agricultural business, Sawmill Circuit, will receive a $455,000 grant to buy a large vacuum truck to collect manure from 18 dairy farms in Nowra, and transport the waste to a biogas plant being built in the local area.

The manure will be converted to renewable energy and put into the electricity grid.

Dairy farmers who are part of the plan will benefit from cheaper electricity and will also receive liquid fertiliser, which they can apply to their pastures.

The vacuum truck — known as a Nuhn Self Propelled Alley Vac — is made in Canada and is unique to Australia.

The biogas plant where the effluent will be processed has received funding from the Federal Government and is due to be operational in 2022.

David Ryan of Sawmill Circuit said the Coles Nurture Fund support to purchase the Alley Vac would make a significant difference to the effluent management for the dairy farms in the Nowra area.

“It will enable the farmers to collect manure for the Innovating Energy Biogas Plant, which will solve an ongoing environmental problem which occurs when heavy rainfall leads to effluent run-off into the Shoalhaven River,” Mr Ryan said.

Coles Group chief executive officer Steven Cain said the commitment of more than $3.7 million from round nine of the grants program for 14 businesses meant the Coles Nurture Fund had now provided financial support to more than 80 producers since 2015.

“The Coles Nurture Fund was set up to help producers to bring innovative and sustainable ideas to life on their farms and in their factories,” Mr Cain said.

“By helping to fund initiatives which increase recycling, reduce water use, increase renewable energy and support local production, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia.”

97 Milk’s slogans supporting whole milk are appearing ever farther afield from the group’s home base in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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