Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Next best thing: wood chip bedding for cattle

23.06.2004


Research indicates that wood chip bedding can be an economic alternative to straw bedding for beef cattle without increasing greenhouse gas emissions during the manure handling process.

Research from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) suggests that wood chip bedding for beef cattle can be an economic alternative to straw bedding, without increasing greenhouse gas emissions during the manure handling process.
Composting is gaining rapid acceptance by the beef cattle industry. Before the value of this manure management option can be fully determined, a few questions need to be answered about greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, say researchers in AAFC’s Environmental Health Program. The scientists are helping develop farm management practices to promote innovation for economic growth, maintain security of the food system, and protect overall health of the environment as part of Canada’s Agricultural Policy Framework, a recently adopted government agriculture program.


In this study, project leader Xiying Hao and her colleagues Chi Chang and Frank Larney compared composted manure from cattle bedded with traditional straw or wood chips to determine the respective levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The work was conducted in the summer of 2001 at the AAFC Research Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. Their findings, published in the January-February 2004 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, show that overall the emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) were quite similar for the two types of bedding during open windrow composting.

Recently, the lumber industry has been promoting the use of wood chips as an alternative bedding material to traditional cereal straw. Wood chip bedding is a mixture of bark, post peelings, and sawdust. Compared to straw bedding, wood chip bedding requires less frequent additions, keeps animals cleaner, and can be cheaper in drought years when straw is scarce. However, the effect of different bedding materials on greenhouse gas emissions during composting of manure had not been previously studied.

Greenhouse gases are emitted during the composting process. While carbon dioxide makes up the majority of total emissions, the impact of methane and nitrous oxide is actually 21 and 310 times greater, respectively, than that of carbon dioxide. The AAFC researchers found that, for both straw and wood chip bedded cattle manure, nitrous oxide emission accounted for less than 1% of total nitrogen loss while methane emission accounted for less than 6% of total carbon loss.

An interesting added benefit of using wood chips is that less nitrogen is lost during composting. Typically, nitrogen is lost to the atmosphere as ammonia. Volatile losses of nitrogen not only reduce the nutrient value of the final compost but also have negative effects on air quality. In this study, the amount of nitrogen lost from wood chip bedded manure was less than a fifth that from cereal straw bedded manure.

"Producers should consider using wood chip bedding for their cattle, particularly at times and in locations where it is economically advantageous. Producers can reduce their costs, while helping improve quality of the environment," concludes Xiying Hao.

More research is needed to determine the effects of different bedding materials on the soil and crop quality, as well as to monitor greenhouse gas emissions from the compost after it is applied.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.agronomy.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>