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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383011

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Crop and Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems at Multiple Scales

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Effects of technology management strategies on environmental emissions from four representative U.S. feedlots and the beef production system

item GILREATH, JESSICA - Texas A&M University
item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item PLACE, SARA - Elanco Animal Health, Inc
item THOMA, GREG - University Of Arkansas
item WICKERSHAM, TROY - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2021
Publication Date: 7/14/2021
Citation: Gilreath, J.R., Rotz, C.A., Place, S.A., Thoma, G., Wickersham, T.A. 2021. Effects of technology management strategies on environmental emissions from four representative U.S. feedlots and the beef production system[abstract]. American Society of Animal Science. P.1.

Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is required for this Abstract Only. JLB.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to evaluate effects of feedlot dietary management strategies on environmental impacts and net returns of feedlot operations in the United States. Representative feedlots were simulated with the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM; USDA-ARS, University Park, PA) to quantify baseline environmental impacts of feedlot production and full US beef cattle production systems. Dietary strategies simulated included: 10% increase in feed efficiency use of less water intensive forages, 10% increase in byproduct inclusion, 10% improvement in water use efficiency of corn, and steam-flaking of corn. Days on feed and annual production of the feedlot were held constant for all strategies to have equal comparisons to baseline results. Dietary management strategies were individually modeled and simulated in IFSM for each feedlot operation to obtain intensities (expressed per kg gain) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fossil energy use, blue water consumption, and reactive nitrogen loss. Feedlot operations were then linked with cow-calf, stocker, and backgrounding operations to estimate environmental intensities (expressed per kg CW) for full cattle production systems. Improving feed efficiency had the greatest effect on reducing carbon emission intensities (6%), energy use intensity (8%), blue water use intensity (9%), and reactive N loss intensity (4%) for feedlot operations. Increasing byproduct inclusion resulted in 9% reduction in blue water use intensity. However, byproduct inclusion increased reactive N loss intensity by 11% as a result of greater protein concentrations in the diet. Switching from rolled corn to steam flaked corn increased energy use intensity by 9%, but little to no changes (1% increase to 3% reduction) were observed for other environmental intensities. Improved feed efficiency was the best performing strategy to reduce environmental footprints of beef cattle production (1 to 2% reductions). Byproduct inclusion increased reactive N loss by 3.5% for the beef production system. Overall, feedlot dietary strategies were less pronounced for the full beef production system compared to feedlot results.