California’s Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Dairy and Livestock Operations

This webinar discusses two programs in California, administered through the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), that provide financial incentives to dairy and livestock producers to reduce methane emissions from on-farm manure management. This presentation was originally broadcast on August 16, 2019. More… Continue reading “California’s Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Dairy and Livestock Operations”

Production of Greenhouse Gases, Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide, and Odorous Volatile Organic Compounds from Manure of Beef Feedlot Cattle Implanted with Anabolic Steroids

Animal production is part of a larger agricultural nutrient recycling system that includes soil, water, plants, animals and livestock excreta. When inefficient storage or utilization of nutrients occurs, parts of this cycle become overloaded. The U.S. Beef industry has made great strides in improving production efficiency with a significant emphasis on improving feed efficiency. Improved feed efficiency results in fewer excreted nutrients and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that impair environmental quality. Anabolic steroids are used to improve nutrient feed efficiency which increases nitrogen retention and reduces nitrogen excretion. This study was conducted to determine the methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), odorous VOCs, ammonia (NH3), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production from beef cattle manure and urine when aggressive steroid implants strategies were used instead of moderate implant strategies.

What Did We Do?

Two groups of beef steers (60 animals per group) were implanted using two levels of implants (moderate or aggressive). This was replicated three times, twice with spring-born calves and once with fall-born calves, for a total of 360 animals used during the study. Both moderate and aggressive treatment groups received the same initial implant that contain 80 mg trenbolone acetate and 16 mg estradiol. At second implant, steers in the moderate group received an implant that contained 120 mg trenbolone acetate and 24 mg estradiol, while those in the aggressive group received an implant that contained 200 mg trenbolone acetate and 20 mg estradiol. Urine and feces samples were collected individually from 60 animals that received a moderate implant and 60 animals that received an aggressive implant at each of three sampling dates (Spring and Fall 2017 and Spring 2018). Within each treatment, fresh urine and feces from five animals were mixed together to make a composite sample slurry (2:1 ratio of manure:urine) and placed in a petri dish. There were seven composite mixtures for each treatment at each sampling date. Wind tunnels were used to pull air over the petri dishes. Ammonia, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide concentrations were measured using an Innova 1412 Photoacoustic Gas Analyzer. Hydrogen sulfide and methane were measured using a Thermo Fisher Scientific 450i and 55i, respectively. Gas measurements were taken a minimum of six times over 24- to 27-day sampling periods.

What Have We Learned?

Flux of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, nitrous oxide, and total aromatic volatile organic compounds were significantly lower when an aggressive implant strategy was used compared to a moderate implant strategy. However, the flux of total branched-chained volatile organic compounds from the manure increased when aggressive implants were used compared to moderate implants. Overall, this study suggests that air quality may be improved when an aggressive implant is used in beef feedlot animals.

Table 1. Overall average flux of compounds from manure (urine + feces) from beef feedlot cattle implanted with a moderatea or aggressiveb anabolic steroid.
Hydrogen Sulfide Ammonia Methane Carbon Dioxide Nitrous  Oxide Total Sulfidesc Total SCFAd Total BCFAe Total Aromaticsf
µg m-2 min-1 ——–mg m-2 min-1——–
Moderate 4.0±0.1 2489.7±53.0 117.9±4.0 8795±138 8.6±0.1 0.7±0.1 65.2±6.6 5.9±0.5 2.9±0.3
Aggressive 2.7±0.2 2186.4±46.2 104.0±3.8 8055±101 7.4±0.1 0.8±0.1 63.4±5.7 7.6±0.8 2.1±0.2
P-value 0.01 0.04 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.47 0.83 0.05 0.04
aModerate treatment =  120 mg trenbolone acetate and 24 mg estradiol at second implant; bAggressive treatment = 200 mg trenbolone acetate and 20 mg estradiol at second implant; cTotal sulfides = dimethyldisulfide and dimethyltrisulfide; dTotal straight-chained fatty acids (SCFA) = acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, valeric acid, hexanoic acid, and heptanoic acid;  eTotal branch-chained fatty acids (BCFA) = isobutyric acid and isovaleric acid; fTotal aromatics = phenol, 4-methylphenol, 4-ethylphenol, indole, and skatole

Future Plans
Urine and fecal samples are being evaluated to determine the concentration of steroid residues in the livestock waste and the nutrient content (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur) of the urine and feces.

Authors

mindy.spiehs@ars.usda.gov Mindy J. Spiehs, Research Animal Scientist, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

Bryan L. Woodbury, Agricultural Engineer, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

Kristin E. Hales, Research Animal Scientist, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

Additional Information

Will be included in Proceedings of the 2019 Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Alan Kruger, Todd Boman, Bobbi Stromer, Brooke Compton, John Holman, Troy Gramke and the USMARC Cattle Operations Crew for assistance with data collection.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Production of Greenhouse Gases and Odorous Compounds from Manure of Beef Feedlot Cattle Fed Diets With and Without Ionophores

Ionophores are a type of antibiotics that are used in cattle production to shift ruminal fermentation patterns. They do not kill bacteria, but inhibit their ability to function and reproduce. In the cattle rumen, acetate, propionate, and butyrate are the primary volatile fatty acids produced. It is more energetically efficient for the rumen bacteria to produce acetate and use methane as a hydrogen sink rather than propionate. Ionophores inhibit archaea forcing bacteria to produce propionate and butyrate as hydrogen sinks rather than working symbiotically with methanogens to produce methane as a hydrogen sink. Numerous research studies have demonstrated performance advantages when ionophores are fed to beef cattle, but few have considered potential environmental benefits of feeding ionophores. This study was conducted to determine if concentrations of greenhouse gases, odorous volatile organic compounds (VOC), ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide from beef cattle manure could be reduced when an ionophore was fed to finishing cattle.

What Did We Do?

Four pens of feedlot cattle were fed an ionophore (monensin) and four pens received no ionophore (n=30 animals/pen). Samples were collected six times over a two-month period. A minimum of 20 fresh fecal pads were collected from each feedlot pen at each collection. Samples were mixed within pen and a sub-sample was placed in a small wind-tunnel. Duplicate samples for each pen were analyzed. Ammonia, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations were measured using an Innova 1412 Photoacoustic Gas Analyzer. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane (CH4) were measured using a Thermo Fisher Scientific 450i and 55i, respectively.

What Have We Learned?

 

Table 1. Overall average concentration of compounds from feces of beef feedlot cattle fed diets with and without monensin.
Hydrogen Sulfide Ammonia Methane Carbon Dioxide Nitrous  Oxide Total Sulfidesa Total  SCFAb Total BCFAc Total Aromaticsd
µg L-1 —————-mg L-1—————-
No Monensin 87.3±2.2 1.0±0.2 4.3±0.1 562.5±2.2 0.4±0.0 233.4±18.3 421.6±81.9 16.8±3.1 83.7±6.4
Monensin 73.9±1.4 1.1±0.2 3.2±0.2 567.1±2.1 0.5±0.0 145.5±10.9 388.9±32.5 20.3±2.3 86.4±5.6
P-value 0.30 0.40 0.01 0.65 0.21 0.01 0.79 0.48 0.75
aTotal sulfides = dimethyldisulfide and dimethyltrisulfide; bTotal straight-chained fatty acids (SCFA) = acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, valeric acid, hexanoic acid, and heptanoic acid;  cTotal branch-chained fatty acids (BCFA) = isobutyric acid and isovaleric acid; dTotal aromatics = phenol, 4-methylphenol, 4-ethylphenol, indole, and skatole

Total CH4 concentration decreased when monensin was fed. Of the VOCs measured, only total sulfide concentration was lower for the manure from cattle fed monensin compared to those not fed monensin. Ammonia, N2O, CO2, H2S, and all other odorous VOC were similar between the cattle fed monensin and those not fed monensin. The results only account for concentration of gases emitted from the manure and do not take into account any urinary contributions, but indicate little reduction in odors and greenhouse gases when monensin was fed to beef finishing cattle.

Future Plans

A study is planned for April – July 2019 to measure odor and gas emissions from manure (urine and feces mixture) from cattle fed with and without monensin. Measurements will also be collected from the feedlot surface of pens with cattle fed with and without monensin.  

Authors

Mindy J. Spiehs, Research Animal Scientist, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

mindy.spiehs@ars.usda.gov

Bryan L. Woodbury, Agricultural Engineer, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

Kristin E. Hales, Research Animal Scientist, USDA ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE

Additional Information

Dr. Hales also looked at growth performance and E. coli shedding when ionophores were fed to finishing beef cattle. This work is published in Journal of Animal Science.

Hales, K.E., Wells, J., Berry, E.D., Kalchayanand, N., Bono, J.L., Kim, M.S. 2017. The effects of monensin in diets fed to finishing beef steers and heifers on growth performance and fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Journal of Animal Science. 95(8):3738-3744. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28805884/.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Alan Kruger, Todd Boman, and the USMARC Cattle Operations Crew for assistance with data collection.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Adventure Dairy: Educational and Technical Tools for Carbon Cycle Modeling on a Virtual Dairy Farm

Conceptualizing, modeling, and controlling carbon flows at the farm scale can improve efficiency in production, reduce costs, and promote beneficial products and byproducts of agricultural processes through best management practices. On dairy farms, opportunities exist for farmers to control factors affecting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and diversions from production and operations. Complex programs to model the effects of different carbon management strategies on net emissions are very useful to farmers, but lack visualization of flows through a user interface to show effects of different management choices in real time.

Previously, a collaborative research team at Penn State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a Virtual Dairy Farm website to share information about how dairy farms incorporate best management practices and other on-farm production choices to reduce environmental impacts. The website is organized in two model farm configurations, a 150-cow and a 1500-cow modern dairy farm. Website users can find information on different components of the farm by exploring locations on the farm. Links to information about farm operations are structured in multiple levels such that information is understandable to the general public but also supported by technical factsheets for agriculture professionals.

What did we do?

Building on the strengths of the Penn State Virtual Dairy Farm interactive website, the Team has developed a concept for an “Adventure Dairy” package for users to explore how management choices affect total on-farm GHG emissions for a model Pennsylvania dairy farm (Figure 1). Five main categories serve as management portals superimposed on the Virtual Dairy interface, including Cow Life Cycle, Manure Management, Crop Production, Energy Use on Farm, and Feed on Farm.

Figure 1. Example landing page for the proposed Adventure Dairy website. Different regions to explore to access the GHG emissions calculator are highlighted in different colors.
Figure 1. Example landing page for the proposed Adventure Dairy website. Different regions to explore to access the GHG emissions calculator are highlighted in different colors.

For each category, users can select from multiple options to see how these decisions increase or decrease emissions. Along the bottom of the webpage, a calculator displays the net carbon balance for the model system and change emissions estimates as users choose feed composition, land use strategies, and other important components (Figure 2). Under each category, users can make choices about different management practices that affect on-farm carbon cycling. For example, different choices for feed additives change total net GHG emissions, and, in turn, can affect total manure production. A change in management and operational choices, such as storage, is visually communicated through interactions and on the interface (Figure 3). These management portals can be seamlessly integrated with the Virtual Dairy Farm as an addition to the right sidebar. The click-through factsheets currently a part of the interface can be preserved through new informational “fast facts” overlays with accompanying infographics and charts. Pathways to optimizing carbon flows to ensure maximum production and minimum environmental impact will be featured as “demo” examples for users.

Figure 2. Example Adventure Dairy user interface for manure management. User choices to increase and decrease total GHG emissions are included in the right sidebar. Along the bottom of the page, a ribbon shows the total emissions from each category.
Figure 2. Example Adventure Dairy user interface for manure management. User choices to increase and decrease total GHG emissions are included in the right sidebar. Along the bottom of the page, a ribbon shows the total emissions from each category.
Figure 3. A different user choice for manure storage type on the Adventure Dairy interface. Total GHG emissions decrease by 14% because of the switch from an uncovered to a covered anaerobic lagoon because of reduced volatilization of methane.
Figure 3. A different user choice for manure storage type on the Adventure Dairy interface. Total GHG emissions decrease by 14% because of the switch from an uncovered to a covered anaerobic lagoon because of reduced volatilization of methane.

What have we learned?

This model offers a novel platform for more interactive software programs and websites for on-farm modeling of carbon emissions and will inform future farm management visualizations and data analysis program interfaces. The Team envisions the Adventure Dairy platform as an important tool for Extension specialists to share information with dairy professionals about managing carbon flows on-farm. Simultaneously, consumers increasingly seek information on the environmental impacts of agriculture. This interactive website is a valuable educational and technical tool for a variety of audiences.

Uniquely, a multidisciplinary team of agriculture and engineering graduate students from multiple institutions are leading this project, as facilitated by faculty. This Cohort Challenge model allows for graduate students to engage with complex food-energy-water nexus problems at the level of faculty investigators in a virtual educational resource center. Future INFEWS-ER teams and “wicked problems” challenge projects will continue to develop this model of learning and producing novel research products.

Future plans

The Cohort Challenge Team is entering a peer/faculty review process of the simplified carbon model for the Virtual Dairy Farm website. The user interface for the Adventure Dairy calculator is not currently a part of the Penn State Virtual Dairy Farm. The Team will be working with software developers to integrate our model in the existing interface. Additional components under consideration for inclusion in the Adventure Dairy calculator include cost comparisons for different best management practices, an expanded crop production best management calculator, and incorporation of

Authors

Student Team: Margaret Carolan,1 Joseph Burke,2 Kirby Krogstad,3 Joslyn Mendez,4 Anna Naranjo,4 and Breanna Roque4

Project Leads: Deanne Meyer,4 Richard Koelsch,3 Eileen Fabian,5 and Rebecca Larson6

 

  1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA crln@uiowa.edu
  2. Texas A&M University
  3. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  4. University of California-Davis
  5. Penn State University
  6. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Acknowledgements

Funding for the INFEWS-ER was provided by the National Science Foundation #1639340. Additional support was provided by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Dairy CAP and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Useful resources

  1. Penn State Virtual Dairy Farm: http://virtualfarm.psu.edu/
  2. INFEWS-ER: http://infews-er.net/
  3. Sustainable Dairy CAP: http://www.sustainabledairy.org/Pages/home.aspx

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Evaluation of current products for use in deep pit swine manure storage structures for mitigation of odors and reduction of NH3, H2S, and VOC emissions from stored swine manure

The main purpose of this research project is an evaluation of the current products available in the open marketplace for using in deep pit swine manure structure as to their effectiveness in mitigation of odors and reduction of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), 11 odorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and greenhouse gas (CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) emissions from stored swine manure. At the end of each trial, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia concentrations are measured during and immediately after the manure agitation process to simulate pump-out conditions. In addition, pit manure additives are tested for their impact on manure properties including solids content and microbial community.

What Did We Do?

Figure 1. Reactor simulates swine manure storage with controlled air flow rates.

We are using 15 reactors simulating swine manure storage (Figure 1) filled with fresh swine manure (outsourced from 3 different farms) to test simultaneously four manure additive products using manufacturer recommended dose for each product. Each product is tested in 3 identical dosages and storage conditions. The testing period starts on Day 0 (application of product following the recommended dosage by manufacturer) with weekly additions of manure from the same type of farm. The headspace ventilation of manure storage is identical and controlled to match pit manure storage conditions. Gas and odor samples from manure headspace are collected weekly. Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia concentrations are measured in real time with portable meters (both are calibrated with high precision standard gases). Headspace samples for greenhouse gases are collected with a syringe and vials, and analyzed with a gas chromatograph calibrated for CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. Volatile organic compounds are collected with solid-phase microextraction probes and analyzed with a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Atmospheric Environment 150 (2017) 313-321). Odor samples are collected in 10 L Tedlar bags and analyzed using the olfactometer with triangular forced-choice method (Chemosphere, 221 (2019) 787-783). To agitate the manure for pump-out simulation, top and bottom ‘Manure Sampling Ports’ (Figure 1) are connected to a liquid pump and cycling for 5 min. Manure samples are collected at the start and end of the trial and are analyzed for nitrogen content and bacterial populations.

The effectiveness of the product efficacy to mitigate emissions is estimated by comparing gas and odor emissions from the treated and untreated manure (control). The mixed linear model is used to analyze the data for statistical significance.

What we have learned?

Figure 2. Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia concentration increased greatly during agitation process conducted at the end of trial to simulate manure pump-out conditions and assess the instantaneous release of gases. The shade area is the initial 5 minutes of continuous manure agitation.

U.S. pork industry will have science-based, objectively tested information on odor and gas mitigation products. The industry does not need to waste precious resources on products with unproven or questionable performance record. This work addresses the question of odor emissions holistically by focusing on what changes that are occurring over time in the odor/odorants being emitted and how does the tested additive alter manure properties including the microbial community. Additionally, we tested the hydrogen sulfide and ammonia emissions during the agitation process simulating pump-out conditions. For both gases, the emissions increased significantly as shown in Figure 2. The Midwest is an ideal location for swine production facilities as the large expanse of crop production requires large fertilizer inputs, which allows manure to be valued as a fertilizer and recycled and used to support crop production.

Future Plans

We develop and test sustainable technologies for mitigation of odor and gaseous emissions from livestock operations. This involves lab-, pilot-, and farm-scale testing. We are pursuing advanced oxidation (UV light, ozone, plant-based peroxidase) and biochar-based technologies.

Authors

Baitong Chen, M.S. student, Iowa State University

Jacek A. Koziel*, Prof., Iowa State University (koziel@iastate.edu)

Daniel S. Andersen, Assoc. Prof., Iowa State University

David B. Parker, Ph.D., P.E., USDA-ARS-Bushland

Additional Information

  • Heber et al., Laboratory Testing of Commercial Manure Additives for Swine Odor Control. 2001.
  • Lemay, S., Stinson, R., Chenard, L., and Barber, M. Comparative Effectiveness of Five Manure Pit Additives. Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan.
  • 2017 update – Air Quality Laboratory & Olfactometry Laboratory Equipment – Koziel’s Lab. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29681.99688.
  • Maurer, D., J.A. Koziel. 2019. On-farm pilot-scale testing of black ultraviolet light and photocatalytic coating for mitigation of odor, odorous VOCs, and greenhouse gases. Chemosphere, 221, 778-784; doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.01.086.
  • Maurer, D.L, A. Bragdon, B. Short, H.K. Ahn, J.A. Koziel. 2018. Improving environmental odor measurements: comparison of lab-based standard method and portable odour measurement technology. Archives of Environmental Protection, 44(2), 100-107.  doi: 10.24425/119699.
  • Maurer, D., J.A. Koziel, K. Bruning, D.B. Parker. 2017. Farm-scale testing of soybean peroxidase and calcium peroxide for surficial swine manure treatment and mitigation of odorous VOCs, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide emissions. Atmospheric Environment, 166, 467-478. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​atmosenv.​2017.​07.​048.
  • Maurer, D., J.A. Koziel, J.D. Harmon, S.J. Hoff, A.M. Rieck-Hinz, D.S Andersen. 2016. Summary of performance data for technologies to control gaseous, odor, and particulate emissions from livestock operations: Air Management Practices Assessment Tool (AMPAT). Data in Brief, 7, 1413-1429. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2016.03.070.

Acknowledgments

We are thankful to (1) National Pork Board and Indiana Pork for funding this project (NBP-17-158), (2) cooperating farms for donating swine manure and (3) manufacturers for providing products for testing. We are also thankful to coworkers in Dr. Koziel’s Olfactometry Laboratory and Air Quality Laboratory, especially Dr. Chumki Banik, Hantian Ma, Zhanibek Meiirkhanuly, Lizbeth Plaza-Torres, Jisoo Wi, Myeongseong Lee, Lance Bormann, and Prof. Andrzej Bialowiec.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

 

Cataloging and Evaluating Dairy Manure Treatment Technologies


Proceedings Home | W2W Home w2w17 logo

Purpose

To provide a forum for the introduction and evaluation of technologies that can treat dairy manure to the dairy farming community and the vendors that provide these technologies.

What Did We Do?

Newtrient has developed an on-line catalog of technologies that includes information on over 150 technologies and the companies that produce them as well as the Newtrient 9-Point scoring system and specific comments on each technology by the Newtrient Technology Advancement Team.

What Have We Learned?

Our interaction with both dairy farmers and technology vendors has taught us that there is a need for accurate information on the technologies that exist, where they are used, where are they effective and how they can help the modern dairy farm address serious issues in an economical and environmentally sustainable way.

Future Plans

Future plans include expansion of the catalog to include the impact of the technology types on key environmental areas and expansion to make the application of the technologies on-farm easier to conceptualize.

Corresponding author name, title, affiliation  

Mark Stoermann & Newtrient Technology Advancement Team

Corresponding author email address  

info@newtrient.com

Other Authors 

Garth Boyd, Context

Craig Frear, Regenis

Curt Gooch, Cornell University

Danna Kirk, Michigan State University

Mark Stoermann, Newtrient

Additional Information

http://www.newtrient.com/

Acknowledgements

All of the vendors and technology providers that have worked with us to make this effort a success need to be recognized for their sincere effort to help this to be a useful and informational resource.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Planning for Resilience: Using Scenarios to Address Potential Impacts of Climate Change for the Northern Plains Beef System

Proceedings Home W2W Home w2w17 logo

Purpose

Resiliency to weather extremes is a topic that Northern Plains farmers and ranchers are already familiar with, but now climate change is adding new uncertainties that make it difficult to know the best practices for the future. Scenario planning is a method of needs assessment that will allow Extension and beef system stakeholders to come together using the latest climate science to discover robust management options, highlight key uncertainties, prioritize Extension programming needs, and provide an open forum for discussion for this sometimes controversial topic.

Overall objectives:

1. Determine a suite of key future scenarios based on climate science that are plausible, divergent, relevant, and challenging to the beef industry.

2. Determine robust management options that address the key scenario drivers.

3. Develop a plan for Extension programming to address determined educational needs.

What did we do?

A team of researchers, Extension specialists, and educators was formed with members from University of Nebraska and South Dakota State University. They gathered the current research information on historical climate trends, projections in future climate for the region, and anticipated impacts to the beef industry. These were summarized in a series of white papers.

Three locations were selected to host two half day focus groups, representing the major production regions. A diverse group representing the beef industry of each region including feedlot managers, cow calf ranchers, diversified producers, veterinarians, bankers, NRCS personnel, and other allied industries. The first focus group started with a discussion of the participants past experiences with weather impacts. The team then provided short presentations starting with historic climate trends and projection, anticipated impacts, and uncertainties. The participants then combined critical climate drivers as axis in a 2×2 grids, each generating a set of four scenarios. They then listed impacts for each combination. The impacts boundaries were feed production through transporting finished cattle off-farm.

Project personnel then combined the results of all three locations to prioritize the top scenarios, which were turned into a series of graphics and narratives. The participants were then brought together for a second focus group to brainstorm management and technology options that producers were already implementing or might consider implementing. These were then sorted based on their effectiveness across multiple climate scenarios, or robustness. The options where also sorted by the readiness of the known information: Extension materials already available, research data available but few Extension materials, and research needed.

Graphic depicting warm/dry, warm/wet, cold/dry, cold/wet conditions on the farm during winter-spring

Graphic depicting hot/dry, hot/wet, cool/dry, cool/wet conditions on the farm during summer-fall

What have we learned?

The key climate drivers were consistent across all focus groups: temperature and precipitation, ranging from below average to above average. In order to best capture the impacts, the participants separated winter/spring and summer/fall.

This method of using focus groups as our initial interaction with producers on climate change was well received. Most all farmers love to talk about the weather, so discussing historical trends and their experiences with it as well as being upfront with the uncertainties in future projections, while emphasizing the need for proactive planning seemed to resonate.

With so many competing interests for producers’ time, as well as a new programming area, it was critical to have trusted local educators to invite participants. Getting participants to the second round of focus groups was also more difficult, so future efforts should considering hosting a single, full day focus group, or allowing the participants to set the date for the second focus group, providing more motivation to attend.

Future Plans

The scenarios and related management options will be used to develop and enhance Extension programming and resources as well as inform new research efforts. The goal is to provide a suite of robust management options and tools to help producers make better decisions for their operation.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Crystal Powers, Extension Engineer, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Corresponding author email

cpowers2@unl.edu

Other authors

Rick Stowell, Associate Professor at University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Additional information

Crystal Powers

402-472-0888

155 Chase Hall, East Campus

Lincoln, NE 68583

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the project team:

University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Troy Walz, Daren Redfearn, Tyler Williams, Al Dutcher, Larry Howard, Steve Hu, Matthew Luebbe, Galen Erickson, Tonya Haigh

South Dakota State University: Erin Cortus, Joseph Darrington,

This project was supported by the USDA Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub and Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-67003-30206 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Talking Climate with Animal Agriculture Advisers


Proceedings Home W2W Home w2w17 logo

Purpose             

The Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate (AACC) project was established to leverage limited Extension expertise across the country in climate change mitigation and adaptation, with the goal of building capacity among Extension professionals and other livestock advisers to address climate change issues.

What did we do? 

The Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate project team created a suite of educational programs and products to build capacity across the United States. Key products of the project:

  • Online courses: 363 participants registered with a 35% completion rate (Whitefield et al., JOE, 2016)
  • National and regional symposia and workshops: 11 face-to-face conferences with approximately 1,350 attendees.
  • Website: Over 5,900 users with over 21,100 total views. Project videos have received nearly 8,900 views.
  • Social media: AACC weekly blog (990 subscribers); daily Southeast Climate Blog (38,506 site visits); regional newsletters (627 subscribers); Facebook & Twitter (280 followers)
  • Ready-to-use videos, slide sets, and fact sheets
  • Educational programming: 390 presentations at local, regional, and international meetings
  • Collaboration with 14 related research and education projects

What have we learned? 

A survey was sent out to participants in any of the project efforts, in the third year of the project and again in year five. Overall, participants found the project resources valuable, particularly the project website, the online course, and regional meetings. We surveyed two key measures: abilities and motivations. Overall, 60% or more of respondents report being able or very able to address all eight capabilities after their participation in the AACC program. A sizeable increase in respondent motivation (motivated or very motivated) existed after participation in the program, particularly for helping producers take steps to address climate change, informing others about greenhouse gases emitted by agriculture, answering client questions, and adding new information to programs or curriculum.

The first challenge in building capacity in Extension professionals was finding key communication methods to engage them. Two key strategies identified were to: 1) start programming with a discussion of historical trends and agricultural impacts, as locally relevant as available, and 2) start the discussion around adaptation rather than mitigation. Seeing the changes that are already apparent in the climatic record and how agriculture has adapted in the past and is adapting to more recent weather variability and climatic changes often were excellent discussion starters.

Another challenge was that many were comfortable with the science, but were unsure how to effectively communicate that science with the sometimes controversial discussions that surround climate change. This prompted us to include climate science communication in most of the professional development opportunities, which were then consistently rated as one of the most valuable topics.

Future Plans    

The project funding ended on March 31, 2017. All project materials will continue to be available on the LPELC webpage.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation        

Crystal Powers, Extension Engineer, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Corresponding author email    

cpowers2@unl.edu

Other authors   

Rick Stowell, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Additional information

lpelc.org/animal-agriculture-and-climate-change

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the project team:

Rick Stowell, Crystal Powers, and Jill Heemstra, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Mark Risse, Pam Knox, and Gary Hawkins, University of Georgia

Larry Jacobson and David Schmidt, University of Minnesota

Saqib Mukhtar, University of Florida

David Smith, Texas A&M University

Joe Harrison and Liz Whitefield, Washington State University

Curt Gooch and Jennifer Pronto, Cornell University

This project was supported by Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-67003-30206 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

How Well Do We Understand Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Open-lot Cattle Systems?

Proceedings Home W2W Home w2w17 logo

Purpose

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations, including cattle feedyards, have become an important research topic. However, there are limitations to current measurement techniques, uncertainty in the magnitude of feedyard N2O fluxes, and a lack of effective mitigation methods. There are uncertainties in the pathway of feedyard N2O production, the dynamics of nitrogen transformations in these manure-based systems, and how N2O emissions differ with changes in climate and feedyard management.

What Did We Do?

A literature review was conducted to assess the state-of-the-science of N2O production and emission from open-lot beef cattle feedyards and dairies. The objective was to assess N2O emission from cattle feedyards, including comparison of measured and modeled emission rates, discussion of measurement methods, and evaluation of mitigation options. In addition, laboratory, pilot-scale, and field-scale chamber studies were conducted to quantify and characterize N2O emissions from beef cattle manure. These studies led to new empirical model to predict feedyard N2O fluxes as a function of temperature and manure nitrate and water contents. Organic matter stability/availability was important in predicting manure-derived N2O emissions: inclusion of data for dissolved organic carbon content and Ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopic indices of molecular weight, complexity and degree humification improved model performance against measured data.

What Have We Learned?

Published annual per capita flux rates for beef cattle feedyards and open-lot dairies in arid climates were highly variable and ranged from 0.002 to 4.3 kg N2O animal-1 yr-1. On an area basis, published emission rates ranged from 0 to 41 mg N2O m-2 h-1. From these studies and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission factors, calculated daily per capita N2O fluxes averaged 18 ± 10 g N2O animal-1 d-1 (range, 0.04–67 g N2O animal-1 d-1). Some of this variability is inherently derived from differences in manure management practices and animal diets among open-lot cattle systems. However, it was proposed that other major causes of variation were inconsistency in measurement techniques, and irregularity in N2O production due to environmental conditions.

For modeling studies, N2O emissions were measured during 15 chamber studies (10 chambers per study) on commercial Texas feedyards, where N2O emissions ranged from below detection to 101 mg N2O m-2 h-1. Numerous feedyard and manure data were collected and regression analyses were used to determine key variables involved in feedyard N2O losses. Based on these data, two models were developed: (1) a simple model that included temperature, manure water content, and manure nitrate concentration, and (2) a more complex model that included UV-vis spectral data that provided an estimate of organic matter stability. Overall, predictions with both models were not significantly different from measured emissions (P < 0.05) and were within 52 to 61% agreement with observations. Inclusion of data for organic matter characteristics improved model predictions of high (>30 mg m-2 h-1) N2O emissions, but tended to overestimate low emission rates (<20 mg N2O m-2 h-1). This work represents one of the first attempts to model feedyard N2O. Further refinement is needed to be useful for predicting spatial and temporal variations in feedyard N2O fluxes.

Future Plans

This work clearly identified that neither the magnitude nor the dynamics of N2O emissions from open-lot cattle systems were well understood. Five primary knowledge gaps/problem areas were identified, where current understanding is weak and further research is required. These include: (i) the need for accurate measurement of N2O emissions with appropriate and more standardized methods; (ii) improved understanding of the microbiology, chemistry, and physical structure of manure within feedyard pens that lead to N2O emissions; (iii) improved understanding of factors that influence feedyard N2O emissions, including manure H2O content, porosity, density, available nitrogen and carbon contents, environmental temperatures, and use of veterinary pharmaceuticals; (iv) development of cost-effective and practical mitigation strategies to decrease N2O emissions from pen surfaces, manure stockpiles, composting windrows, and retention ponds; and (v) improved process-based models that can accurately predict feedyard N2O emissions, evaluate mitigation strategies, and forecast future N2O emission trends.

Given the potential for future regulation of N2O emissions, feedyard managers, nutritionists, and researchers may play increasingly important roles in on-farm nitrogen management. Current management practices may need modification or refinement to balance production efficiency with environmental concerns. There is a need for data derived from both large-scale micrometerological measurement campaigns and small-scale chamber studies to assess the overall magnitude of feedyard N2O emissions and to determine key factors driving its production and emission. Refined empirical and process-based models based on manure physicochemical properties and weather could provide a dynamic approach to predict N2O losses from open-lot cattle systems.

Corresponding author (name, title, affiliation):

Heidi Waldrip, Research Chemist, USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory, Bushland, TX

Corresponding author email address

heidi.waldrip@ars.usda.gov

Other Authors

Rick Todd, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory, Bushland, TX

David Parker, Agricultural Engineer, USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, TX

Al Rotz, Agricultural Engineer, USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA

Andy Cole, Animal Scientist, USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory (retired), Bushland, TX.

Ken Casey, Associate Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Amarillo, TX

Additional Information

“Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Open-Lot Cattle Feedyards: A Review”. Waldrip, H. M., Todd, R. W., Parker, D. B., Cole, N. A., Rotz, C. A., and Casey, K. D. 2016. J. Environ. Qual. 45:1797-1811. Open-access article available at:  https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/jeq/pdfs/45/6/1797?search-r…

USDA-ARS Research on Feedyard Nitrogen Sustainability: http://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Sustainability_FactSheet…

Acknowledgements

This research was partially funded by the Beef Checkoff: http://www.beefboard.org/

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.