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Way’s Livestock Affect Environmental Quality
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  1. Way’s Livestock Affect Environmental Quality • Excess manure nutrients • Fecal Nutrients • N and N-containing components • P • Trace minerals • Urinary nutrients • N • May have direct or indirect effects on environmental quality • NH3 causes respiratory problems • H2S is a toxic gas • N and P causes algae blooms that depletes water O2 concentrations causing fish kills • Fermentation gases • CH4 and CO2 are Green House Gases associated with global warming • Dust • From animal skin, hair, feed and bare soil

  2. Pathogens • May be direct from manure deposition and runoff or endotoxins in air within confinement buildings • May be indirect from N and P • Endocrine disrupters • Animal Mortalities • Contributes N, P, gases, pathogens, and bad aesthetic quality • Pasture erosion • From upland and riparian areas • Loss of biodiversity • Directly from selective grazing • Indirectly from nutrient imbalance • All effects are manageable with good management

  3. Use of Nutrient Balance to Control Environmental Problems Associated with Livestock

  4. Problems with Managing Livestock for Environmental Quality • Structure of agriculture • Regulations are rapidly changing • Lack of meaningful measurements of performance • Inadequate technologies • Solving one environmental problem can cause other problems • Controlling environmental quality requires more and different management • Economic costs

  5. INTEGRATED BEEF AND CROP PRODUCTION IN A BIOFUEL ERA Nutrients Energy Nutrients Products Regional border Nutrient and energy losses Environmental damage

  6. Problems with Managing Livestock for Environmental Quality • Structure of agriculture • Regulations are rapidly changing • Lack of meaningful measurements of performance • Inadequate technologies • Solving one environmental problem can cause other problems • Controlling environmental quality requires more and different management • Economic costs

  7. Why Manage Livestock for Environmental Quality? • To meet governmental regulations • To meet specifications set by food retailers or niche market programs • Reduce offsite costs of environmental damage • To avoid conflicts with neighbors and community • Can be a win-win situation • Balancing diets will reduce feed costs • Proper manure application will reduce fertilizer costs • Improved grazing management will increase production while improving pasture stream water quality • Marketing advantage

  8. Problems with Managing Livestock for Environmental Quality • Confounding of environmental goals with social, economic, animal welfare or aesthetic goals • Problems of denial by some producers and groups in livestock production • Arguments that are not positive inhibit progress and increases conflicts • Need to consider the perspectives of consumers • Regulations are rapidly changing • More is learned about the relationship between environmental health and human health • General public in U.S. and other countries are calling for more environmental protection • Conflicting and emerging science on the effects of livestock on the environment

  9. Measurement of nonpoint source pollution is difficult and often inaccurate. • Atmospheric NH3 is measured on an air-shed basis • Sediment and P entering pasture streams primarily occurs during storm events and is confounded by upstream management practices • Manure odor is composed by as many as 300 odors • Solving one environmental problem can lead to another • Injection of manure into the soil reduces NH3 volatilization, odors and P loss, but may increased dissolved NO3 and P in ground water • Increasing N fertilization increases forage production, but decreases biodiversity • Implications: • Must think holistically

  10. To limit nutrient excretion, diets must be accurately blended to meet animal requirements, but: • Exact nutrient requirements for many species at different sizes and sexes are not accurately known • Most nutrient requirements have been set with safety margins above the physiological functions • Diets balanced for environmental management may have some risk for reduced performance, but don’t necessarily have to Production Production/animal Excretion Nutrient consumed

  11. Common feedstuffs contain imbalances of various nutrients • Grains contain high concentrations of P • Legume forage contain high concentrations of protein that is highly degradable in the rumen of cattle • Rapid measurement of many feed microingredients are difficult, expensive, or nonexistent • Composition of manure is variable • Crop producers prefer using fertilizer nutrients • Controlling environmental quality requires more management • It’s easier to feed a single group of animals than groups of animals separated by sex and size • It’s easier taking a trace mineral block out to a cowherd than to calculate whether they need it • Its easier just applying fertilizer than analyzing and calibrating manure application

  12. Structure of Agriculture • 50% of the corn produced in NE leaves the state • Farms that produce more manure than can be safely applied at the agronomic rate account for: • 60% of the nation’s manure N • 70% of the nation’s manure P • Measure to manage livestock to maintain environmental quality will have an economic cost • If the number of animals per acre are limited, operations may be too small to be economically viable • Measures like diet manipulation or improved manure handling, storage and application will likely have economic costs • Who pays? • Government • Consumers • Producers