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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MINIMIZING THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF LIVESTOCK MANURES USING INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT REGIMENS

Location: Renewable Energy and Manure Management Research

Title: Waste management and environmental challenges related to animal feeds

Author
item Cole, Noel

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 19, 2006
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The feeding of livestock in confinement leads to concentration of feed nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and other minerals and salts in a small geographic area. In addition, hormones (endogenous and exogenous), antibiotics, and other feed additives may accumulate in the manure. The accumulation of these excess nutrients, the extraneous losses of these nutrients to ground water, surface water, and the atmosphere, and removal of accumulated manure have become significant environmental concerns to the livestock industries. Nutrition and management practices can influence the amount of nutrients excreted by the animal as well as influence transformations and movements of excreted nutrients. Concentrated livestock feeding operations are regulated under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other federals, state and local regulations. The nutrients of major concern to livestock operations are generally N (usually as nitrates), P, and organic matter because they can runoff into surface waters causing eutrophication or percolate into ground water. When properly managed, runoff from feeding operations and manure storage areas does not enter surface or ground waters. The atmospheric emissions from livestock feeding operations that are of greatest concern vary with geographic location and proximity to neighbors but, in general, are dust, odors, ammonia, greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide), pathogens/endotoxins, and hydrogen sulfide. The first step in controlling water and air pollution is development of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. Adverse environmental effects can be reduced by balancing nutrient inputs with nutrient outputs and via good quality control. In the future, nutritionists, feedmills, and feedlot managers will be called on to play an increasingly important and vital role in helping livestock operations meet environmental regulations. Many common practices might need to be revised and producers may be required to balance production efficiency and net income with real and perceived environmental concerns.

Technical Abstract: Within the U.S. approximately 23 million cattle are fed in feedyards each year. The high density of animals in these confined operations can lead to environmental concerns. The feeding of livestock in confinement leads to concentration of feed nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and other minerals and salts in a small geographic area. In addition, hormones (endogenous and exogenous), antibiotics, and other feed additives may accumulate in the manure. The accumulation of these excess nutrients, the extraneous losses of these nutrients to ground water, surface water, and the atmosphere, and removal of accumulated manure has become a significant environmental concern to the livestock industries. Nutrition and management practices can influence the amount of nutrients excreted by the animal as well as influence transformations and movements of excreted nutrients. Concentrated livestock feeding operations are regulated under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other federals, state and local regulations. Nutrients, pathogens and PAC in manure can potentially runoff feedlot surfaces to surface waters or percolate into ground waters. The nutrients of major concern to livestock operations are generally N (usually as nitrates), P, and organic matter because they can runoff into surface waters causing eutrophication or percolate into ground water. When properly managed, runoff from feeding operations and manure storage areas does not enter surface or ground waters. The atmospheric emissions from livestock feeding operations that are of greatest concern vary with geographic location and proximity to neighbors but, in general, are dust, odors, ammonia, greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide), pathogens/endotoxins, and hydrogen sulfide. The first step in controlling water and air pollution is development of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. Adverse environmental effects can be reduced by balancing nutrient inputs with nutrient outputs and via good quality control. In the future, nutritionists, feedmills, and feedlot managers will be called on to play an increasingly important and vital role in helping livestock operations meet environmental regulations. Many common practices might need to be revised and producers may be required to balance production efficiency and net income with real and perceived environmental concerns.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014
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