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Effective Use of Livestock Waste in Crop Production Systems

Cotta, Michael
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop integrated animal and cropping systems that achieve maximum input efficiency, minimum environmental impact, and increased sustainability.
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APPROACH: The Agricultural Research Service and the University of Illinois will develop a partnership to conduct coordinated research that integrates the strengths of their current programs on the production and utilization of animal manure as a valuable resource. The broadly based, multi-disciplinary research program will be carried out as a series of interrelated studies by animal nutritionists, microbiologists, agricultural engineers, as well as crop, soil, water, and atmospheric scientists of the cooperating institutions. Research will be approached along two themes: a nutrient theme that will define the linkages among components of integrated animal-cropping systems influencing nutrient balances and a microbiological theme that will assess potential microbiological hazards that may be associated with use of manure. The research program will strive to encompass all the aspects of the integrated animal-cropping system including animal feeding, manure storage and application, soils, water, crops, and atmospheric emissions.

PROGRESS: 2001/09 TO 2006/08 Currently, many producers view manure from livestock operations as a waste stream to be disposed of and by others as an environmental liability. The use of livestock manure in crop production offers considerable opportunity to capture nutrients within an integrated system resulting in reduced fertilizer costs, a restoration of soil fertility, and increased efficiency of animal and crop production, while minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture. This potential is particularly high in the Midwestern States where there is opportunity to link the traditional enterprises of swine, corn, and soybeans to develop integrated husbandry systems that are economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. The overall goal of this research program is to carry out a series of interrelated research studies that will lead to the development of integrated swine and corn-soybean agricultural systems to conserve the maximum amount of nutrients within the system, minimize nutrient emissions to the environment, and assure biological safety, while maintaining producer profitability. This research contributes to National Program 206 Manure and Byproduct Utilization and addresses goals as described under the Nutrient Management and Atmospheric Emissions Components of the National Program Action Plan. The groups that will benefit from the results of this research include hog producers, farmers, and the people who live in rural areas. The overall outcome will be new information that could be incorporated into a decision support model for animal-cropping systems that will allow producers the opportunity to manage their system to increase production efficiency, decrease production risk, decrease environmental risk, and increase profitability.

2. List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress)

Perform facility modifications (University of Illinois) that will allow for controlled animal feeding experiments with gaseous emission monitoring, as well as manure storage and collections. Set up metabolism facility (Ames) for controlled nutrient balance and emissions animal experiments. Develop 15N corn labeling technique. Monitor 15N incorporation into corn. Monitor fate of 15N corn in animal feeding studies and during subsequent manure storage. Monitor fate of 15N from manure in soil. Measure residual manure 15N left in the soil at planting and how much N from manure is taken up by the second year's crop. Animal feeding experiments: Effect of diet on manure quality and characteristics of manure generated. Animal feeding experiments: Effect of dietary nitrogen level and form, dietary fiber on ammonia/volatile organic chemicals (VOC) emissions from manure. Develop molecular and chemical methods to monitor and quantitate macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin (MLSb) antibiotic resistance and antibiotic residues in swine facilities and waste treatment systems. Determine the levels of MLSb resistance in an anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (ASBR) manure treatment system and the effects of tylosin addition to the reactor on performance and resistance. Develop methods for monitoring and screening tetracycline resistance genes and organisms in feed, manure, soil, and water. Survey several swine production facilities; identifying the prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes and possible sources of these genes. Compare results with organic (no antibiotic use) facility. Evaluate the effect of MLSb antibiotics in laboratory scale manure treatment employing an anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (ASBR). Evaluate methods to monitor ammonia and water emission patterns in and around swine production facilities; e.g., LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) system. Determine ammonia emission patterns around swine production facility.

4a List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006. Accomplishment. This research contributes to National Program 206, Manure and Byproduct Utilization, and addresses goals as described under the Nutrient Management and Atmospheric Emissions Components of the National Program Action Plan. Last year. Optimizing the manure nutrient concentrations while minimizing the environmental impact are two requirements for enhancing the fertilizer value of manure. Experiments were conducted determining corn yields of plots receiving swine slurry from animals fed diets with differing N:P levels. The animal diets that gave optimum manures in terms of balanced N and P levels for corn production were those that had 0.3% P plus phytase added and nitrogen levels of 2.8 to 3.5%. This information can be used in the development of good management practices that will aid in keeping manure phosphorus and nitrogen from being lost into water bodies, which ultimately and most importantly will directly improve the quality of life of people living in rural areas.

4d Progress report. This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative agreement between ARS and the University of Illinois. Additional details of research can be found in the report for the parent research project 3620-63000-003-00D, Anaerobic Microbiological Processes in Animal Manure Management. The broadly based, multi-disciplinary research program was initiated to carry out a series of interrelated studies by animal nutritionists, microbiologists, agricultural engineers, as well as crop, soil, water, and atmospheric scientists of the cooperating institutions. The goals of the research are to define the linkages among components of integrated animal-cropping systems influencing nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon balances, and assess potential microbiological hazards that may be associated with manure such as selected food borne pathogenic organisms and antibiotic resistant organisms and genes.

5. Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact. This research contributes to National Program 206 Manure and Byproduct Utilization and addresses goals as described under the Nutrient Management and Atmospheric Emissions Components of the National Program Action Plan. A comprehensive survey of production facilities was undertaken to determine the prevalence, diversity, and fate of antibiotic resistance genes in feed, feces, stored waste, and environmental samples from these locations. An analysis of tetracycline resistance genes present in conventional farms where chlortetracycline was routinely used was compared to an organic swine farm where antibiotics had not been used since 1993. It was determined that antibiotic resistance genes were present in feed, feces, manure, and soil in and around these facilities regardless of whether antibiotics were used or not, but the levels of the genes present were between 10 and 1,000 fold lower in samples from the organic farm. Related research quantifying antimicrobial residues and antimicrobial resistance in swine waste treatment systems and manure amended fields suggested that the macrolide tylosin was not accumulating in the treatment systems; however, a lincosamide (lincomycin) and two tetracycline antimicrobials were found at ppm levels in building and lagoon samples. A detailed protocol was established to produce 15N labeled swine slurry that was suitable for studying swine slurry N transformations in agricultural soils. Using this 15N manure, it was determined that swine manure, when managed correctly, can produce high corn yields comparable to an inorganic N fertilizer at a rate of 50% of the total N in manure. On the other hand, no nitrate nitrogen leaching potential was observed in the manured treatments, contrary to the highest inorganic fertilizer rate that produced 60 kg N/ha in soil that were available after plant uptake had ceased. The research indicates that properly managed swine manure may be a valuable fertilizer both from a production and environmental point of view. The optimum diet for hogs to obtain manure suited for corn fertilization is one that has a low P content through phytase addition and a protein content of at least 2.8% N. In whole animal experiments, the effects of varying the levels of nitrogen and fiber in the diets of finishing swine on animal growth and selected cecal, fecal, and manure parameters were evaluated. Differences in ammonia concentration were largely due to differences in the level of crude protein in the diet. It was discovered that reducing dietary crude protein reduced pH, NH4, isovaleric acid, phenol, and 4-ethyl phenol concentrations. Dietary protein had no impact on manure sulfur concentration. Headspace nitrous oxide concentration was increased by decreasing dietary crude protein but did not affect headspace concentrations of methane. Research examining air quality in and around swine facilities, in particular, the dispersion of ammonia and other emissions around these facilities, indicates that emissions rise more rapidly and higher than previously thought. Subsequent experiments have been conducted with a LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) system to measure the dispersion of particulates and water vapor around facilities during the production cycle.

6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? Preliminary results from this research have been presented to the National Pork Producers Council and will be available to the livestock industry at future meetings and presentations in an effort to improve nutrient utilization, decrease nutrient excretion, and to reduce diet costs, while still maintaining animal productivity. Results of research on antibiotic resistance and environmental quality have been communicated through scientific publications and presentations at national and international meetings.

7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work.
Daverede, I.C., Hoeft, R.G., Ellis, M., Gonzini, L. 2005. Optimizing swine manure use as a nitrogen fertilizer: manure and inorganic fertilizer nitrogen transformations in soils and uptake by corn [CD-ROM]. Annual Meeting Abstracts. ASA-CSSA-SSSA.
Madison, WI. Jindal, A., Kocherginskaya, S., Mehboob, A., Robert, M., Mackie, R.I., Raskin, L., Zilles, J.L. 2006. Antimicrobial use and resistance in swine waste treatment systems. Submitted to Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Angenent, L.T., Mau, M., George, U., Zahn, J.A., Raskin, L. 2006. Monitoring macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) antimicrobial resistance in anaerobic waste treatment systems with oligonucleotide probes. Submitted to Environmental Science and Technology.

Funding Source
Agricultural Research Service
Project number
Accession number
Chemical Contaminants
Bacterial Pathogens
Meat, Poultry, Game