2010 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Determine seasonal emissions of NH3, N2O, CO2, CH4, and VOCs from dairy cows fed alfalfa- or corn-silage based diets, with and without and the addition of the ionophore monensin;
2. Determine seasonal impacts of varying forage:concentrate ratios on emissions of NH3, N2O, CO2, CH4, and VOCs;
3. Evaluate seasonal and diet impacts on changes in manure chemistry and emissions of NH3, N2O, CO2, CH4, and VOCs during manure storage;
4. Produce written reports and articles for presentation to farm organizations, at conferences, seminars, and scientific meetings;
5. Develop manuscripts for publication in peer and non peer-reviewed formats; and
6. Demonstrate capability to the dairy industry that trace-gas emissions can be accurately evaluated for use in production management, system design, and comparison to emissions estimates by other agencies and technologies.
Project to be extended in time and money because the trace-gas emission chambers malfunctioned durng most of the original SCA time period. Air flow problems have been solved & the emission chambers are now in working order, so the additional year will be used to complete the experimental work. Additional funds will be for the part-time salary costs of a graduate student who will monitor the chambers and collect and analyze the gas emission data.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Four, 8-week lactation trials will be conducted in air emission chambers located at the DFRC experimental farm in Prairie du Sac, WI. Each trial will include 16 mid-lactating dairy cows (4 early-, 8 mid-, 4 late-lactation) distributed evenly to 4 chambers (corresponding to 4 dietary treatments) in a 4x4 Latin square design. Trial 1 will be conducted during fall of 2007, followed by trial 2 during winter 2007-2008, trial 3 during spring of 2008 and trial 4 during summer of 2008. Diets for trials 1&3 will be a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of primary forage source (alfalfa or corn silage) and the ionophore monensin (added or not). Cow rations will be formulated to include 55% forages and 45% concentrates (DM basis). Alfalfa silage (AS) and corn silage (CS) will be in either a 75:25 or 25:75 ratio, and both forage ratios will be fed with 220 mg/c/d of monensin or without monensin. Trials 2&4 will include the same dairy cow types and experimental procedures as described for Trials 1&3, except the 4 dietary treatments will include (DM basis) 85, 70, 55 or 40% forages (fixed 65:35 alfalfa silage:corn silage ratio) plus 15, 30, 45 or 60% concentrate, respectively. For each trial, diet adaptation periods of 10 d will be followed by 4 d emission measurement periods. During each day from 0700 to 0900, chambers will be cleaned, cows fed, and manure weighed, sampled, acidified and frozen. At 0900, chamber curtains walls will be lowered, sealed, and from 1000 to 1500 emission recordings will be made. After cows return from milking (1600), curtains will be lowered for night-time emission measurements. A photoacoustic multi-gas monitor (Innova Model 1412) will be used to makes continuous measurements of NH3, N2O, CO2, CH4, and VOCs concentrations in air emitted from the 4 chambers. During the last day of each trial, manure from each diet will be added to 55 gallon drums, mixed and diluted with water to mimic manure storage of a typical commercial farm. Diet manure will be stored in drums for 60 days and manure samples and gas samples collected on day 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 60 d after loading.
The main goal of this research is to determine the influence of diet and season of the year on gas emissions from dairy operations that have potentially polluting (mainly ammonia and nitrous oxide) or greenhouse effects (mainly carbon dioxide, methane and volatile organic compounds) in the atmosphere. A trial was conducted to determine the effect of altering the dietary ratio of forage to concentrate (from high forage:low concentrate to low forage:high concentrate) on milk production and emission of methane and ammonia from lactating dairy cows. Additionally, the impact of feeding these diets on nitrogen excretion in the urine and feces was also studied. Replacing dietary forage with concentrate increased yield of milk and milk protein and improved feed efficiency (milk produced per unit feed consumed). Increasing forage content of the diet also increased methane production per animal and per unit milk secreted by the cows on the trial. However, increasing dietary forage content had no effect on ammonia output per animal or per unit of milk produced, or on nitrogen excreted in the feces and urine. The cooperator worked regularly on this project with a technician of the ARS scientist. Regular meetings were held with the cooperator to monitor progress toward project goals.