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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 #347158

Research Project: Improved Practices to Conserve Air Quality, Maintain Animal Productivity, and Enhance Use of Manure and Soil Nutrients of Cattle Production Systems for the Southern Great Plains

Location: Livestock Nutrient Management Research

Title: Use of new techniques to evaluate the environmental footprint of feedlot systems

item COLE, NOEL - Retired ARS Employee
item Parker, David
item Todd, Richard
item Leytem, April
item Dungan, Robert - Rob
item Hales Paxton, Kristin
item IVEY, SHANNA - New Mexico State University
item JENNINGS, JENNY - Texas A&M Agrilife

Submitted to: Translational Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2017
Publication Date: 1/15/2018
Citation: Cole, N.A., Parker, D.B., Todd, R.W., Leytem, A.B., Dungan, R.S., Hales Paxton, K.E., Ivey, S., Jennings, J. 2018. Use of new techniques to evaluate the environmental footprint of feedlot systems. Translational Animal Science. 2:89-100.

Interpretive Summary: New Techniques Improve Agricultural Research. There is a growing concern over the effects of livestock production on the environment. Scientists continue to adapt new technologies into their research programs. Scientists from USDA-ARS (Bushland, Texas), Texas A and M AgriLife Research (Amarillo, Texas), and New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, New Mexico) have summarized the existing technologies used for conducting research on the environmental impacts of feeding beef cattle. These technologies include methods for measuring feed intake and methane emissions from individual animals, measuring greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from manure, and identifying potential pathogens in manure. New technologies must be validated for accuracy.

Technical Abstract: With increased concern over the effects of livestock production on the environment, a number of new technologies have evolved to help scientists evaluate the environmental footprint of beef cattle. The objective of this review was to provide an overview of some of those techniques. These techniques include methods to measure individual feed intake, enteric methane emissions, ground level greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions, feedlot and pasture emissions and identify potential pathogens. The appropriate method to use for measuring emissions will vary depending upon the type of emissions, the emission source, and the goals of the research. These methods should also be validated to assure they produce accurate results and achieve the goals of the research project. In addition, we must not forget to properly use existing technologies and methods such as proper feed mixing, feeding management, feed/ingredient sampling, and nutrient analysis.