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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Manure Nutrients, Environmental Contaminants, and Energy From Cattle and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Use of wood-based materials in beef bedded manure packs Part 1: Effect on ammonia, total reduced sulfide, and greenhouse gas concentrations

item Spiehs, Mindy
item Brown Brandl, Tami
item Berry, Elaine
item Wells, James
item Parker, David -
item Miller, Daniel
item Jaderborg, Jeffrey -
item Dicostanzo, Alfredo -

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 11, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Livestock producers are faced with increasing pressure to reduce or eliminate gases that contribute to odor (ammonia and total reduced sulfides) and global warming (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) from their facilities. Bedding material may be one management tool that can reduce odors or pathogens in livestock facilities. Many different types of bedding material are used by livestock producers. Producers who raise beef cattle in confined facilities prefer corn stover as bedding because it is readily available and economical, but alternative bedding materials are needed to meet local demands. Differences in chemical and physical characteristics of the bedding materials will influence how well the bedding absorbs urine and feces, how quickly the bedding is decomposed, and ultimately, how the bedding material will affect odors and greenhouses gases from livestock facilities. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of bedding material on concentration of ammonia, total reduced sulfides, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Lab-scaled bedded manure packs were established and housed in environmentally controlled rooms for six weeks. Corn stover, kiln-dried pine chips, dry cedar chips, and green cedar chips were evaluated as bedding materials. Once weekly, air was collected from each bedded pack and analyzed for concentration of ammonia, total reduced sulfides, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The concentration of ammonia and carbon dioxide were lowest when dry or green cedar bedding was used. However, as the bedded packs aged, airborne total reduce sulfide and methane concentrations increased when dry or green cedar bedding was used. Use of pine chips resulted in similar gas concentration to corn stover, with the exception of slightly higher carbon dioxide concentrations when pine chips are used. Therefore, if cedar products are used, more frequent cleaning of the bedding pack may be necessary in order to maintain reduced gas concentrations inside the facility. Pine chips may be a suitable substitute for corn stover in deep-bedded cattle facilities.

Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of using corn stover or three different wood-based bedding materials (kiln-dried pine wood chips, dry cedar chips, or green cedar chips) on airborne concentrations of ammonia (NH3), total reduced sulfur (TRS), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) above lab-scaled bedded manure packs. Four bedded packs of each bedding material were maintained for two 42-day periods (N = 32; 8 replicates per bedding material). Airborne NH3, TRS, CO2, CH4, and N2O were measured weekly. Simulated bedded packs containing dry or green cedar had lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of NH3 (504.5 and 513.9 ppm, respectively) than bedded packs containing pine chips or corn stover (743.2 and 641.4 ppm, respectively). Airborne CO2 was also lower (P < 0.001) from bedded packs containing dry and green cedar (746.5 and 684.6 ppm, respectively) compared to bedded packs containing pine chips or corn stover (1,111.2 and 922.1 ppm, respectively). Air samples from bedded packs containing green cedar chips had higher (P < 0.01) concentration of CH4 than bedded packs containing dry cedar chips, corn stover, or pine chips at day 35 and 42. Initially, TRS concentration was similar among all bedding materials; at 28 – 42 days, TRS was higher (P < 0.001) from bedded packs containing the cedar products. Airborne N2O was similar (P = 0.51) for all bedding materials. Pine chips and corn stover would provide similar air quality in the barn, while cedar bedding may need to be removed more frequently.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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