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 'Déjà vu all over again:' Research shows 'mulch fungus' causes turfgrass disease
03.07.2015 | Penn State

nachricht A tale of 2 (soil) cities
02.07.2015 | American Society of Agronomy

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: Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity. So it is confirmed by calculations carried out by a European researchers team, that have taken a viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations.

The Juncal Viaduct, in Gran Canaria, has served as a reference for Spanish and British researchers to verify that the wind blowing between the pillars on this...

Im Focus: X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time

New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions

A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...

Im Focus: Iron: A biological element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...

Im Focus: Thousands of Droplets for Diagnostics

Researchers develop new method enabling DNA molecules to be counted in just 30 minutes

A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...

Im Focus: Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

Patients using Argus II experienced significant improvement in visual function and quality of life

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June

16.06.2015 | Event News

MUSE hosting Europe’s largest science communication conference

11.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Aluminum Clusters Shut Down Molecular Fuel Factory

06.07.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Veja Mate Offshore orders 67 wind turbines including record long-term service

06.07.2015 | Press release

The quantum middle man

06.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>