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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF NUTRIENTS FROM BEEF FEEDLOTS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT Title: Emi-Sensor Data to Identify Areas for Potential Emissions of Volatile Fatty Acids from Feedlot Surfaces

Authors
item Woodbury, Bryan
item Eigenberg, Roger
item Varel, Vincent
item Spiehs, Mindy

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 2009
Publication Date: June 24, 2009
Citation: Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A., Varel, V.H., Spiehs, M.J. 2009. EMI-Sensor Data to Identify Areas for Potential Emissions of Volatile Fatty Acids from Feedlot Surfaces. In: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers. June 21-24, 2009. Reno, NV. ASABE Paper No. 96161. St. Joseph, Mich.:ASABE.

Interpretive Summary: Accumulated animal manure on pen surfaces can become very odorous when the surfaces become wet following rain-fall. Diet can alter the types and amounts of odors these accumulated manures produce. Recently, methods have been developed that can measure how much and where the manure accumulates within the pen. This information can be used to estimate the types and amounts of odors based on location within the pen and diet the animals are fed. These estimates provide producers with information to manage the manure accumulation to limit the odors produced.

Technical Abstract: Remote sensing methods have been developed to measure manure accumulation patterns on feedlot surfaces. This study was designed to determine if this sensor data could be used to predict differences in volatile fermentation products and the areas in the pens where they are produced following a rainfall event. Finishing steers were fed either a corn- or wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS)-based diet. Soils collected from pens with animals fed the corn-based-diet had greater average straight-chained volatile fatty acids (VFA) production. Soils collected from pens with animals fed the WDGS diet had greater branched-chained VFA production. Linear regression models from the sensor data were used to estimate the percent pen surface area contributing to specified volatile concentration ranges. It was found 65% of the corn-base diet pen surface produced greater than 40 mmol kg**1** straight-chained VFA while the WDGS pens only had 51% of the surface area in the same concentration range. The opposite trend was found for the branched-chained VFAs in that the corn-based diet had 47 % of the pen surface area produce 6 mmol kg**-1** or greater while the WDGS diet had 61%. Diet appears to affect the types and amounts of VFAs produced following a rainfall event. The WDGS diet appears to produce higher branched-chained VFAs, which can be considered more offensive. Understanding accumulation patterns and the ability to predict odorant production can be used to develop precision management practices to mitigate contamination from animal feeding operations.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014