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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309801

Title: Predicting greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle feedyard manure

item Waldrip, Heidi
item CASEY, KENNETH - Texas A&M Agrilife
item Todd, Richard
item Cole, Noel

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2014
Publication Date: 11/3/2014
Citation: Waldrip, H., Casey, K.D., Todd, R.W., Cole, N.A. 2014. Predicting greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle feedyard manure. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Paper No.100-15.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Improved predictive models for nitrous oxide and methane are crucial for assessing the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of beef cattle production. Biochemical process-based models to predict GHG from manure rely on information derived from studies on soil and only limited study has been conducted on manure GHG. Little is known about specific factors that drive production and volatilization of nitrous oxide and methane from feedyard manure. We used GHG flux and weather data collected from non-flow-through non-steady-state chamber studies conducted in 2012 and 2013 on two beef cattle feedyards in the Texas Panhandle. Manure samples (unconsolidated surface manure and the underlying manure pack) were analyzed for basic physicochemical properties, soluble carbon (C) and nitrogen, and UV-visible spectral characteristics related to degree of decomposition and humification. Preliminary correlation analyses indicated that methane production increased with increasing air temperature (P<0.01), manure pack water content, molecular weight of humic substances, and manure temperature (P<0.1). Current process-based models include dissolved organic C (DOC) content in equations to predict methane production; however, there was no correlation between methane and DOC or any other variables studied. Although there was high variability in nitrous oxide emissions, no significant (P<0.1) relationship was identified between nitrous oxide fluxes and any variable investigated. Other studies conducted on soil and soil/manure mixtures have found moisture to be the primary factor controlling nitrous oxide fluxes, with maximal production at around 60% water (mass basis). The non-response to moisture in this study is likely due to the generally dry conditions of feedyard pens in the Panhandle (<48% water). These data will be used to improve parameterization of existing process-based models and develop new empirical models to predict feedyard GHG emissions. Further study is needed to improve understanding of nitrous oxide production from feedyard manure.