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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP TECHNOLOGIES TO PROTECT AIR QUALITY, MAINTAIN PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY & ENHANCE USE OF MANURE FROM SOUTHN GREAT PLAINS BEEF & DAIRY AG

Location: Renewable Energy and Manure Management Research

Title: Use of technology and implications for the environment

Authors
item Macdonald, Jim -
item COLE, NOEL
item HALES, KRISTIN

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 14, 2011
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Citation: MacDonald, J.C., Cole, N.A., Hales, K.E. 2011. Use of technology and implications for the environment. In: Proceedings of the Southwest Beef Symposium, January 18-19, 2011, Amarillo, Texas. Available: http://swbs.nmsu.edu/documents/macdonald-management-technologies.pdf

Interpretive Summary: The use of technology in beef cattle production has dramatically changed animal performance indices over the past 30 years. Several technologies such as implants, ionophores, and antimicrobial drugs have wide adoption rates in the United States. Other more recent technologies such as beta-agonists currently have lower adoption rates, but have the potential to further impact beef production in the future. These technologies have contributed to improved animal performance over the past 30 years, without increasing emissions of ammonia or greenhouse gases. Therefore, we conclude that the use of growth enhancing technologies are vital in reducing the carbon footprint of a serving of beef.

Technical Abstract: The use of technology in beef cattle production has dramatically changed animal performance indices over the past 30 years. Several technologies such as implants, ionophores, and antimicrobial drugs have wide adoption rates in the United States. Other more recent technologies such as beta-agonists currently have lower adoption rates, but have the potential to further impact beef production in the future. These technologies have contributed to improved animal performance over the past 30 years by increasing dietary energy concentration, weight gain, and carcass weight with marginal increases in dry matter intake (DMI). The improvements in feed efficiency observed over this time period likely would not have been possible without the adoption of growth enhancing technologies. While the emission of ammonia and greenhouse gasses produced per head have remained stable, the emissions have been reduced when expressed on per pound of carcass weight. Therefore, we conclude that the use of growth enhancing technologies are vital in reducing the carbon footprint of a serving of beef.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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