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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2013 Dec;63(12):1457-68.

Effects of pen bedding and feeding high crude protein diets on manure composition and greenhouse gas emissions from a feedlot pen surface.

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota 58108, USA.
Carrington Research Extension Center, North Dakota State University, Carrington, North Dakota, USA.


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations vary by stage of production and management practices. The objective of this research was to study the effect of two dietary crude protein levels (12 and 16%) fed to beef steers in pens with or without corn stover bedding. Manure characteristics and GHG emissions were measured from feedlot pen surfaces. Sixteen equal-sized feedlot pens (19 x 23 m) were used. Eight were bedded approximately twice a week with corn stover and the remaining eight feedlot pens were not bedded. Angus steers (n = 138) were blocked by live weights (lighter and heavier) with 7 to 10 animals per pen. The trial was a 2 x 2 factorial design with factors of two protein levels and two bedding types (bedding vs. non bedding), with four replicates. The study was conducted from June through September and consisted of four -28-day periods. Manure from each pen was scrapped once every 28 days and composite manure samples from each pen were collected. Air samples from pen surfaces were sampled in Tedlar bags using a Vac-U-Chamber coupled with a portable wind tunnel and analyzed with a greenhouse gas gas chromatograph within 24 hr of sampling. The manure samples were analyzed for crude protein (CP), total nitrogen (TN), ammonia (NH3), total volatile fatty acid (TVFA), total carbon (TC), total phosphorus (TP), and potassium (K). The air samples were analyzed for methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations. The concentration of TN was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in manure from pens with cattle fed the high protein diets. The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) such as acetic, propionic, isobutyric, butyric, isovaleric, and valeric acids concentrations were similar across both treatments. There were no significant differences in pen surface GHG emissions across manure management and dietary crude protein levels.

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