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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

2012 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 at Clay Center, Nebraska, adapted an electronic system for determining the accumulated manure depth on feedlot surfaces. This system, combined with other spatial technologies developed by ARS scientists at Clay Center, Nebraska, allows for precision harvesting of manure. This allows beef producers to harvest manures that are best suited for land application or as a fuel for energy recovery.

In response to a request from the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, ARS scientists at Clay Center, Nebraska, teamed with Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and AgraTek LLC of Phoenix, AZ to develop a technology that monitors feedlot runoff holding pond integrity. This technology was shown to be sensitive to subsurface changes resulting from pond leakage. Detailed studies are underway to determine efficacy of an automated system based on this research.

ARS scientists at Clay Center, Nebraska, have pioneered a technology to measure the spatially variable manure accumulation on feedlot surfaces. This technology has been used for identifying areas on the pen surface that are more likely to emit offensive odor and greenhouse gases. Studies are being conducted to model these patterns and develop abatement strategies.

ARS scientists at Clay Center, Nebraska, have conducted laboratory and field-scale experiments to evaluate the effect of diet, temperature and location within pen on manure odor and greenhouse gas emission when applied agricultural fields. Results indicate manure from animals fed distillers grain emits more odors than animal fed corn-based diet.

As part of an AFRI grant, two beef barns in Iowa have been instrumented with air quality sampling equipment and weather stations. Air quality data have been collected continuously for 1.5 years and will continue until October 2012. A field day was held in summer 2012 at one of the barns with scientists at Iowa State University and South Dakota State University.

Two laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the combination of 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 100% pine wood chips in combination with corn stover as a bedding material. A third experiment was initiated to evaluate corn stover and bean stover in winter and summer conditions. Air quality emissions and manure characteristics were measured on the manure packs in each study.

A study was conducted to determine the effect of feeding feedlot steers diets containing high (45%) and low (25%) concentrations of wet distillers grains with solubles in combination with high (45%) and low (25%) concentrations of high moisture corn on air and manure quality. Nutrient balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur were measured. Concentration of odorous compounds in feces and urine from cattle fed each diet were also measured.

As part of the National Research Initiative grant project, ARS scientists at Clay Center, Nebraska, conducted research to evaluate soybean-byproducts as an additive to manure for reducing odorous emissions. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of additive type and application rate on odor reductions using a previously developed method utilizing small wind tunnels.


4.Accomplishments
1. Automated monitoring of feedlot runoff holding ponds. Leakage from feedlot runoff holding ponds can contaminate soil and groundwater. Working with the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and AgraTek LLC, ARS scientists at the U.S.MARC (Clay Center, NE) have developed a system to detect leakage. This system demonstrated resolution to detect subtle changes and sensitivity to measure dynamic changes without the need for costly monitoring wells. A prototyped automated system has been evaluated to effectively measure subsurface soil quality changes resulting from leakage.

2. Precision harvesting of manure for nutrients or energy. Manure accumulation on pen surfaces is not uniform in nutrient or energy content. A technology was developed by ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE that estimates manure energy content and identifies areas on the pen surface where manure can be collected for energy recovery. Use of the technology will allow direct harvesting of manure for use as a recoverable energy source.

3. Reducing odor emissions from swine lagoons. Malodorous emissions from swine lagoons are causing public relation issues for the swine industry. ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE demonstrated that soybean peroxidase was effective at reducing odorous chemical emissions from swine manure by 68 to 81 percent. The research has resulted in awarding of additional grant funds from the National Pork Board for further development in commercial swine production facilities.

4. Standardization of emission measurements. Numerous methods used to measure gas emissions result in different values even when measuring the same source. ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE standardized a method for measuring gas emission rates from soil and feedlot surfaces using water evaporation within instrument chambers. A correction factor was obtained that was used to adjust emission values across a variety of instruments which allows for improved comparisons.

5. Reducing air emissions in deep-bedded beef barns. Raising beef cattle in a deep-bedded barn improves performance but may compromise barn air quality. In laboratory experiments, ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE investigated the relative value of corn cob byproducts, shredded paper, corn stover, and/or pine chips for use as odor-eliminating bedding materials. Preliminary results indicate significant differences among the bedding materials. Livestock producers will be able to balance the value and effectiveness to determine which bedding materials to use.

6. Odor emissions following land application. Land application of swine manure can emit offensive odors. ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE, measured the reduction of odor emissions and emission rates after land application of swine slurry. A model was developed to predict the emissions during the 24 hour period following land application. Odor emissions decreased rapidly following land application of swine manure, declining below levels of detection and near background levels after 4 to 8 hours. These data will be used to reduce offensive odors downwind.


Review Publications
Varel, V.H., Wells, J., Shelver, W.L., Rice, C., Armstrong, D.L., Parker, D.B. 2012. Effect of anaerobic digestion temperature on odour, coliforms and chlortetracycline in swine manure or monensin in cattle manure. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 112:705-715.

Parker, D.B., Rhoades, M.B., Cole, N.A., Sambana, V.P. 2012. Effect of urease inhibitor application rate and rainfall on ammonia emissions from beef manure. Transactions of the ASABE. 55(1):211-218.

Parker, D.B., Malone, G.W., Walter, W.D. 2012. Vegetative environmental buffers and exhaust fan deflectors for reducing downwind odor and VOCs from tunnel-ventilated swine barns. Transactions of the ASABE. 55(1):227-240.

Lim, T., Parker, D.B. 2011. An automated scraper system for swine confinement facilities. University of Missouri Extension. pp. 1-4.

Kim, Y., Kim, K., Jo, S., Jeon, E., Sohn, J., Parker, D.B. 2011. Comparison of storage stability of odorous VOCs in polyester aluminum and polyvinyl fluoride tedlar bags. Journal of Chromatography. 712:162-167.

Susaya, J., Kim, K., Cho, J., Parker, D.B. 2011. The use of permeation tube device and the development of empirical formula for accurate permeation rate. Journal of Chromatography A. 1218:9328-9335.

Susaya, J., Kim, K., Cho, J., Parker, D.B. 2012. The controlling effect of temperature in the application of permeation tube (PT) devices in standard gas generation. Journal of Chromatography A. 1225:8-16.

Spiehs, M.J., Miller, D.N., Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A., Varel, V.H., Parker, D.B. 2012. Effect of feeding wet distillers grains with solubles to beef cattle on air and manure quality. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(3):423-430.

Spiehs, M.J., Whitney, M.H., Shurson, G.C., Nicolai, R.E., Renteria-Flores, J., Parker, D.B. 2012. Odor and gas emissions and nutrient excretion from pigs fed diets containing dried distillers grains with solubles. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 28(3):431-437.

Fortuna, A., Honeycutt, C.W., Vandemark, G.J., Griffin, T.S., Larkin, R.P., He, Z., Wienhold, B.J., Sistani, K.R., Albrecht, S.L., Woodbury, B.L., Torbert III, H.A., Powell, J.M., Hubbard, R.K., Eigenberg, R.A., Wright, R.J., Allredge, R.J. 2012. Links among nitrification, nitrifier communities and edaphic properties in contrasting soils receiving dairy slurry. Journal of Environmental Quality. 41:262-272.

Eigenberg, R.A., Woodbury, B.L., Auvermann, B., Parker, D.B., Spiehs, M.J. 2012. Energy and nutrient recovery from cattle feedlots. Scholarly Research Exchange. 2012:1-5.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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