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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Cole, Noel - Andy

Submitted to: Conservation and Production Field Day Proceedings
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2003
Publication Date: 4/16/2003
Citation: Cole, N. A., Ammonia Emissions and Feedyard Environmental Pollution Concerns, Conservation and Production Field Day Proceedings. Texas Tech Feedyard/Feedmill Management Seminar. 2003. p. 1-25.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The effects of beef cattle feeding operations on the environment are a growing concern of cattle producers, regulators and the general public. The objectives of this presentation were to provide a review of current environmental concerns related to beef cattle feedyards, provide some information on possible methods to decrease any adverse effects of feedyards on the environment and to provide limitations in adaptation of these technologies The major environmental concerns of feedyards are water quality and air quality. Water quality concerns include runoff and percolation of phosphorus, nitrates, metals, pathogens and other nutrients. Because feedyards are required to collect all runoff in properly designed and maintained retention ponds, there is little problem with runoff or percolation from the yard. However, if mismanaged, there is potential for runoff into lakes and streams when manure is removed from the yard and applied to fields as a fertilizer. Major air quality concerns vary. From a local standpoint, the major concerns are dust and odors. However, from a regional and national perspective the major concern is ammonia. There appear to be few viable pathogens in feedyard air. However, feedyard air can contain endotoxins that can potentially have effects on the health of workers and livestock. Today feedyards are required to have Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans that are useful in controlling many emissions. In the future, additional nutritional and management regimens will need to be adapted to protect feedyards from regulations and (or) nuisance complaints. Modifications of diets, use of feed additives, use of pen surface or retention pond amendments, and other r methods may be used to decrease emissions of ammonia, dust, and other possible pollutants. Currently, use of these are restricted by factors such as animal variability, feed variability, environmental conditions and other shortcomings in knowledge and available technology

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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