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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Research Project #428127

Research Project: Process-based Nutrient Modeling of Confined Beef Cattle Systems in the Northern Great Plains

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Project Number: 3040-63000-001-01-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2015
End Date: Apr 30, 2019

The goal of this research project is to investigate the systematic effects of different scenarios of beef cattle housing, manure management and land application in the Northern Great Plains for N and P compounds. This research will enhance emission estimating and nutrient management methodologies and practices. The specific objectives are to: (1) Refine and evaluate a process-based model that estimates the fate of N and P for confined beef cattle housing/manure management methods of the Northern Great Plains region, including bedded manure pack and deep pit manure storage in monoslope or hoop-style buildings; (2) Refine and evaluate a process-based model that estimates the N and P availability and losses from land-applied solid beef cattle manure (with and without bedding); and (3) Evaluate housing/manure management and land application scenarios for N and P fate through the farm system under variable climatic conditions.

The approach for this project uses an interdisciplinary and multi-state team to meet the specific objectives. The team will utilize an established process-based model, and focus on refinement and verification of this model. The main activities include: (1) collecting periodic gas concentration and emission data from two deep-pit and two hoop-style beef cattle barns over two years; (2) calibrating and validating process-model outputs of nutrient value and N emission from manure storage and confined beef cattle facilities using full-scale data collected in a previous study and activity 1; (3) comparing the nutrient availability and emission from land-applied and incorporated solid beef cattle manure, with and without bedding; and (4) compare scenarios for the confined beef cattle system (including land application) to open lot beef cattle systems under a range of historic weather conditions, including drought and flood conditions experienced by the Northern Great Plains Region.