Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A balanced protein diet can reduce accumulation of nitrogen on dairy cattle farms by up to 35%

08.06.2010
Improving the nutrition of dairy cattle is a key instrument for reducing the environmental problems caused by the accumulation of nitrogen on dairy farms.

Research conducted in the Basque Institute for Agricultural Development and Research, Neiker-Tecnalia, and led by the biologist Haritz Arriaga in collaboration with the Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona, has demonstrated that up to 35% of the accumulated nitrogen on dairy farms in the Basque Country can be reduced with a balanced diet in protein content without reducing milk production.

The first part of the research was conducted in 64 commercial farms in the Basque Country, in which it was shown that on most of these (70%) the diet of the lactating cows was excessively rich in proteins. The quantity of protein ingested is directly related to the faecal and urinary excretion of N (R2 = 0.7), because 6.25% of the protein is formed by this chemical element. Thus, the greater the ingestion of protein the greater nitrogen losses into the environment, despite the milk production is also higher. So, the purpose of farmers’ should be an adjustment of protein consumption to the nutritional needs of the cattle without reducing the production and quality of milk. In this sense, results demonstrated that up to 35% of the accumulated nitrogen on dairy farms in the Basque Country can be reduced with a balanced diet of proteins.

The results also demonstrated that nutritional strategies can reduce the accumulation of nitrogen on high-density dairy farms. The concentration of this chemical element per hectare of available soil can be reduced by 11.2% through the optimisation of protein content in rations.

Feed for reducing nitrogen
In the second study, the research group of Neiker-Tecnalia analysed the efficient use of nitrogen in the animal through a greater use of commercial concentrates and, thereby, the energy content of the diet. Afterwards, they studied the excretion of N and its concentration in the resulting manure. In this study a comparison was made of diets with low forage content and high concentrate content (ratio 45:55), usually employed on intensified dairy farms, with diets involving greater forage content and less concentrate content (ratio 75:25), considered less energetic but more sustainable from an environmental and feeding perspective. The resulting manures from the different diets were subsequently applied on a grassland in order to evaluate the volatilisation of the nitrogen-based gases, ammonia (NH3) involved in the acidification and eutrofisation of aquatic and edaphic ecosystems as well as nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitric oxide (NO), involved in the greenhouse effect and destruction of the ozone layer.

The researchers demonstrated that rations with higher forage content reduce the voluntary ingestion of food, because the animal is satisfied because of the fibre content of the forage. As a consequence, the nitrogen intake in this diet is also reduced and, consequently, the excretion is lower, which contributes to minimise the ammoniacal nitrogen (N-NH4+) in the resulting manure. However, this reduction in the ingestion of food and nitrogen also causes a loss in milk production.

The alteration of the nitrogen composition of the manure (N-NH4+) can have environmental implications depending on the handling carried out by the farmer in the fields. Emissions of nitrogen gases (ammonia, nitrous oxide and nitric oxide) to the atmosphere after applying manures obtained with high or low forage content diets are similar when the same N-NH4+ doses are applied on-field. After applying 120 kg N-NH4+, nitrogen gas emissions were 18.7 kg N per hectare in the case of diets with high content of forage (14,8%), while in the case of diets with low forage content, 11.5 kg of N per hectare (9.6%) were emitted. These data confirmed that between 10% and 15% of N-NH4+ applied in the field will be emitted in the form of nitrogen to the atmosphere, mostly (60%) as ammonia.

Less protein, less ammonia
In a third study, the aim was to determine the effect of the concentration of the protein in the ration on the ammonia and nitrous oxide concentration in dairy barns. Both gases, apart from the environmental repercussion previously pointed out, can harm both the health of humans and cattle. This study demonstrated that the concentrations of NH3 from the barn soil ranged between 7.1 mg of NH3 per cubic metre in low protein diets and 10.8 mg of NH3 per cubic metre in rations with higher ingestion of proteins. On the contrary, the amount of nitrous oxide was very similar with an average of 1.1 mg of N2O per cubic metre. However, despite the lack of response to nutritional changes, it was remarkable that the amount of N2O in the barns was greater than the atmospheric concentration (0.5 mg of N2O per cubic metre).

The results obtained underlined the importance of fitting the protein content of the rations to the animal requirements (according to production, lactation stage, genetics, etc) with the goal of optimising the efficiency of nitrogen use. This adjustment of the protein in the rations will moreover enable reducing the concentration of gaseous N losses in terms of NH3, N2O and NO from dairy barns and after manure application on grasslands.

Amaia Portugal | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elhuyar.com
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=2774&hizk=I

Further reports about: N-NH4+ NH3 gas emission milk production nitric oxide nitrogen gas nitrous oxide

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>