Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2006
Publication Date: 6/26/2006
Citation: Cole, N.A. 2006. Challenges in integrating CAFO nutrient management with environmental stewardship. In: Proceedings of the 28th Annual Southern Conservation Systems Conference, June 26-28, 2006, Amarillo, Texas. p. 248-261.
Technical Abstract: In general, 70 to 90% of nutrients fed to livestock subsequently end up in manure and can potentially be lost to the environment. Thus, the effects of livestock operations, especially larger concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), on the environment are a growing concern among many groups. The role of nutrition (i.e. pre-excretion strategies) and manure management (post-excretion strategies) in controlling possible adverse effects on the environment are receiving increased emphasis. The general public is demanding that everyone - and that includes agriculture - be held accountable for their impact on the environment. This means that today, and in the future, we will need to balance animal production with environmental risks. “Safety margins” in diet formulation may have to be decreased. At the present time the biggest “cushion” available is probably toward the end of the feeding period and late in lactation - the time period when we can probably have the greatest effect on both nutrient excretion and ammonia emissions. The use of many technologies such as phase feeding and precision feeding is limited at the present time. Adding a “manure removable cost” to the cost of feed ingredients may be beneficial in limiting the use of feeds that may produce environmental problems. The major factor limiting use of manure nutrients is often farmers’ preference for inorganic fertilizers; thus, to make manure more attractive as a fertilizer, livestock producers need to treat manures as a co-product, rather than as a waste to be disposed of at the cheapest price.