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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Manure Nutrients, Environmental Contaminants, and Energy from Cattle and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Obj.1: Develop precision techniques or other methods for the characterization and harvesting of feedlot manure packs in order to maximize nutrient and energy value and minimize environmental risk. Obj.2: Determine the fate and transport of antibiotics (e.g., monensin and tetracyclines) and pathogens (e.g., E.coli O157:H7 and Salmonella and Campylobacter) in beef cattle and swine facilities. Obj.3: Quantify and characterize air emissions from beef cattle and swine facilities to evaluate and improve management practices. Obj.4: Determine the risk and benefits of using coal-ash and other industrial byproducts as a component of surfacing material for feedlot pens.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Approach 1A: Develop a system to estimate spatial nutrient and recoverable energy distribution on feedlot surfaces. 1B: Develop geospatial techniques to estimate green house gas (GHG) emissions and odor from feedlot surfaces. 1C: Develop a real-time, subsurface sensing tool that estimates combustion energy and marks areas on a feedlot pen with sufficient energy for combustion. Approach 2A. Determine the fate and transport of the antibiotics, chlortetracycline and bacitracin, and the pathogens, Salmonella and Campylobacter in a swine production facility. 2B. Determine the fate and transport of monensin and the pathogen, E. coli O157:H7, in a production-scale beef cattle feedlot. Approach 3A. Develop a database of ammonia, greenhouse gases (GHG) and particulate matter, and relevant input variables from cattle deep-bedded monoslope facilities. 3B. Use of alum on bedded pack of beef monoslope facilities to reduce ammonia volatilization. 3C. Determine dietary strategies equating a reduction in carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur excretion on manure composition and subsequent reduction of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, odor, and greenhouse gas emissions from cattle manure when ethanol byproducts are fed. Approach 4A. Determine the effect of using pens surfaced with soil or coal-ash on the quality and quantity of accumulated manure removed. 4B. Determine the effects of coal-ash feedyard surfacing on the subsurface soil and runoff water quality.


3.Progress Report
ARS scientists developed an electronic near-surface system for determining manure depth of feedlot surfaces, which will allow for precise harvesting of manure for energy recovery. In response to a request from the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) scientists teamed with AgraTek LLC of Phoenix, AZ to adapt the technology for monitoring the integrity of feedlot lagoons. Chlortetracycline is an antibiotic commonly added to swine feed to improve animal performance and health. A laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate how anaerobic digestion temperature affects the degradation of the antibiotic chlortetracycline in swine manure. As part of an AFRI grant, two beef barns in Iowa were instrumented with air quality sampling equipment and weather stations. Air quality data was collected continuously for one year. A field day was held in summer 2011 at one of the barns in conjunction with scientists at Iowa State University and South Dakota State University.

A laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate nine manure bedding pack materials consisting of various crop residues and wood byproducts. Air quality emissions and manure characteristics were measured on the manure packs. A second experiment was initiated to look at combinations of different bedding pack materials.

ARS scientists evaluated two full-scale odor reduction technologies at tunnel-ventilated swine barns with a cooperator in another state. The first technology was an automated scraper system designed to replace the existing flush system. The second technology was a vegetative environmental buffer (VEB), which consisted of specially designed rows of trees and shrubs placed downwind of the exhaust fans in the tunnel-ventilated swine barns. Accurate estimation of air emissions from animal feeding operations is crucial for regulatory reporting and testing of abatement measures. ARS scientists developed methods for comparing emissions from different measurement devices. With support from a grant from the National Pork Board, methods for quantifying air emissions from the land application of swine manure and for assessing additives for odor control were evaluated.

As part of an NRI grant project, ARS scientists have initiated collaborative research with Iowa State University and the Kansas firm of Bio-Research Products Inc. to evaluate soybean-byproduct additives for reducing odor emissions from swine lagoons. A laboratory experiment was conducted to determine the optimum amount of additive necessary for odor control of swine manure.

A multi-year study was completed that evaluated the effectiveness of using coal-ash material as a pen surfacing material. The study determined the effect of coal-ash surfaced pens on the quality and quantity of manure collected.


4.Accomplishments
1. Determining the effect of animal diet on air emissions from feedlot surfaces. Air emissions from animal feeding operations affect the environment and pose potential nuisance concerns to downwind neighbors. Based on laboratory studies, there is evidence that animal diet impacts the types and amounts of air emissions from manure. ARS researchers at Clay Center, NE, developed a method for evaluating the spatial distribution of air emissions at the field-scale, and determined that diet had an effect on the spatial distribution, types and quantities of odorants produced by manure. Having the ability to predict the locations of elevated air emissions will allow producers to use cost-effective precision management techniques to minimize air emissions from feedlot surfaces.


Review Publications
Gilley, J.E., Durso, L.M., Eigenberg, R.A., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2011. Narrow grass hedge control of nutrient loads following variable manure application. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(3):847-855.

Gilley, J.E., Berry, E.D., Eigenberg, R.A., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2011. Runoff, erosion, and size distribution of sediment from beef cattle feedlots. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(2): 435-440.

Gilley, J.E., Durso, L.M., Eigenberg, R.A., Woodbury, B.L. 2010. Nutrient transport in runoff as affected by diet, tillage and manure application rate. Transactions of the ASABE. 53(6): 1895-1902.

Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A., Nienaber, J.A., Spiehs, M.J. 2010. Soil-crop dynamic depth response determined from TDR of a corn silage field compared to EMI measurements. Journal of Environmental & Engineering Geophysics. 15:185-196.

Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A., Varel, V.H., Lesch, S., Spiehs, M.J. 2010. Using electromagnetic induction technology to predict volatile fatty acid, source area differences. Journal of Environmental Quality. 39:1-7.

Eigenberg, R.A., Woodbury, B.L., Nienaber, J.A., Spiehs, M.J., Parker, D., Varel, V.H. 2010. Soil conductivity and multiple linear regression for precision monitoring of beef feedlot manure and runoff. Journal of Environmental & Engineering Geophysics. 15:175-183.

Todd, R.W., Cole, N.A., Rhoades, M.B., Parker, D.B., Casey, K. 2011. Daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual ammonia emissions from Southern High Plains cattle feedyards. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40:1-6.

Parker, D.B. 2011. Effectiveness of a manure scraper system for odor control in tunnel-ventilated swine finisher barns. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(1):315-324.

Rhoades, M.B., Parker, D.B., Cole, N.A., Todd, R.W., Caraway, E.A., Auvermann, B.W., Topliff, D.R., Schuster, G.L. 2010. Continuous ammonia emission measurements from a commercial beef feedyard in Texas. Transactions of the ASABE. 53(6):1823-1831.

Parker, D.B., Perschbacher-Buser, Z.L., Cole, N.A., Koziel, J.A. 2010. Recovery of agricultural odors and odorous compounds from polyvinyl fluoride film bags. Sensors. 10:8536-8552. DOI: 10.3390/s100908536

Spiehs, M.J., Woodbury, B.L., Doran, B.E., Eigenberg, R.A., Kohl, K.D., Varel, V.H., Berry, E.D., Wells, J. 2011. Environmental conditions in beef deep-bedded monoslope facilities: a descriptive study. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(2):663-673.

Durso, L.M., Gilley, J.E., Marx, D.B., Woodbury, B.L. 2011. Effects of animal diet, manure application rate, and tillage on transport of microorganisms from manure-amended fields. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 77:6715-6717.

Vogel, J.R., Gilley, J.E., Woodbury, B.L., Berry, E.D., Eigenberg, R.A. 2011. Transport of trace elements in runoff from unamended and pond-ash amended feedlot surfaces. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(4):1269-1279.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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