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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Livestock Bio-Systems » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377006

Research Project: Sustainable Management and Byproduct Utilization of Manure Nutrients and Environmental Contaminants from Beef and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Livestock Bio-Systems

Title: Use of bedding materials in beef bedded manure packs at hot and cold ambient temperatures: Effects on odorous volatile organic compounds and odor activity values

item JADERBORG, JEFFREY - University Of Minnesota
item Spiehs, Mindy
item Woodbury, Bryan
item DICOSTANZO, ALFREDO - University Of Minnesota
item Parker, David

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/3/2021
Publication Date: 5/10/2021
Citation: Jaderborg, J.P., Spiehs, M.J., Woodbury, B.L., DiCostanzo, A., Parker, D.B. 2021. Use of bedding materials in beef bedded manure packs at hot and cold ambient temperatures: Effects on odorous volatile organic compounds and odor activity values. Transactions of the ASABE. 64(3):843-855.

Interpretive Summary: Beef cattle producers in the upper Great Plains are increasingly raising cattle in confinement facilities. One type of facility that is often used is a deep-bedded monoslope barn which has a solid floor covered in bedding. The bedding is typically from crop residues, such as corn stover or wheat straw. Previous research as shown that the type of bedding material can affect the odors being emitted from bedded cattle facilities. Because these barns are open-fronted and not artificially heated or cooled, a wide range of temperatures can occur in these barns over the course of a year. A study was conducted to determine the odors emitted from bedding material stored in hot (30 °C or 86 °F) or cold (15 °C or 59 °F) environments. The bedding materials tested included corn stover, bean stover, wheat straw and pine wood chips. Total odor activity values, which is a calculated number to measure offensiveness of an odor, was lower in cold environments compared to hot environments and decreased over time for both hot and cold treatments. Bean stover and pine chip bedding produced the lowest total odor activity values. Producers should evaluate their bedded pack management and consider potential bedding material being used and frequency of bedded pack removal based on seasonal ambient temperatures to reduce overall odor potential.

Technical Abstract: Beef cattle producers are beginning to raise cattle in confinement facilities such as slatted-floor barns, hoop barns, and mono-slope facilities. Hoop and mono-slope facilities typically use bedding packs as part of their manure management system, with crop residues being the most commonly used bedding material. This study was conducted to determine the effects of bedding material, i.e., corn stover (CS), bean stover (BS), wheat straw (WS), or pine wood chips (PC), and environmental ambient temperature, i.e., cold (15°C) or hot (30°C), on the concentrations of odorous volatile organic com pounds (VOCs) in air samples collected in the headspace above lab-scale bedded packs over a 42-day period. Total aromatic compounds, sulfide compounds, straight-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs) were measured and used to calculate total odor activity values (OAVs) for each bedding and temperature effect. No significant three-way interactions for bedding material x ambient temperature x age of bedded pack were observed. Significant bedding material x ambient temperature interactions were observed for total aromatic compounds and total sulfide compounds (p = 0.0455 and p = 0.0083, respectively). The concentration of total aromatic compounds was greater for all hot treatments compared to cold treatments, with hot-CS and hot-WS bedding types (389.83 and 365.5 ng L-1, respectively) significantly (p < 0.05) greater than all other bedding types, while total aromatic compounds were lowest (87.09 ng L-1) for BS across cold treatments. Total sulfide compounds from cold-PC (51.69 ng L-1) were significantly (p = 0.0143) greater than all other treatments. Within hot treatments, total sulfide compounds were similar across all bedding materials. Total SCFAs for both cold and hot treatments decreased significantly from weeks 4 to 6. Total SCFA concentrations within weeks were significantly (p < 0.0001) greater for WS and CS compared to BS and PC but similar across bedding materials at week 6. Total BCFA concentrations from bedded packs containing CS and WS were significantly (p < 0.0001) higher at week 4 compared to concentrations from bedded packs containing BS or PC. As bedded packs aged, total BCFA concentrations for all bedding materials were similar at week 6. Total OAVs decreased over time for both hot and cold treatments, although cold treatments had significantly (p < 0.0001) lower total OAVs regardless of the age of the bedded pack. Aromatic compounds generated 72.6% of the total OAV over the 42-day study. Bedding types BS and PC had the lowest total OAVs across all weeks. The results indicate that feedlot operators maintaining bedded pack facilities will achieve the greatest overall odor reduction when using BS or PC bedding material, no matter the ambient temperature.