Dr. Mindy Spiehs is a Research Animal Scientist evaluating effects of diet, housing, livestock bedding material, and other management factors on odor and greenhouse gass emissions from livestock waste and housing facilities.
Feeding practices that influence the excretion of starch, crude protein, and sulfur by cattle may significantly affect the production of odor from cattle feedlots. Diet may also influence the concentration of environmentally active form(s) of phosphorus in livestock waste. Dr. Spiehs has a particular interest in the environmental implications of using ethanol by-products in cattle feedlot diets. Many ethanol by-products are high in nitrogen and sulfur which may increase ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and odorous compounds emitted from livestock facilities. Current projects are evaluating alternative feed ingredients that can be added to a by-product-based diet to improve air quality.
The environmental impact of livestock feeding operations is also influenced by management of the facilities. Dr. Spiehs has on-going research projects to evaluate air quality in cattle deep-bedded confinement facilities. Other projects evaluate air quality when various bedding materials are used in deep-bedded systems.