Integrated Resource Management Tool to Mitigate the Carbon Footprint of Swine Produced in the United States

Animal Manure Management June 10, 2013|Print

Research and Modeling Summary (Purpose of the Research)

NIFA swine carbon footprint project partnersThe overall goal of the modeling effort is to achieve integration of specific modules for: animal growth; feed constituent impacts on manure characteristics; and incorporation of the DNDC model for manure management systems. The process model output will be used as input to life cycle assessment to evaluate cradle-to-farm-gate environmental impacts of swine production; and an economic analysis model that incorporates both process based results (live animal weight, feed, fuel, etc.) and LCA results (GHG emissions) to model the cost and potential of different options for reducing GHG emissions in swine production.

The model development will be supported through an experimental research program focused on feed efficiency and manure management. Feed efficiency is affected by the feed composition and animal physiology which is affected by the animal’s health status. Our research will address both issues with laboratory and full scale feeding trials. We will evaluate reduced nitrogen content in the feed with amino acid supplements to meet nutrient requirements coupled with Ractopamine supplements in the final finishing stage.

Separate experiments will evaluate the effect of animal health status on feed conversion using feeding trials in a nursery to finish facility with and without antibiotic dietary supplements. Nutrient retention management technologies for manure will include algal growth for on-farm nitrogen retention using a pilot scale experimental system and thermal conversion to fuel gas and bio-char (a soil amendment).

Dr. Marty Matlock (Co-Project Director) recently presented a synopsis of the overall project goals  and ongoing efforts during the July 2012 installment of the eXtension: Livestock, Poultry and Environmental Learning Center (LPELC) webcast series, that presentation and the succeeding Q&A session can be viewed here

What Did We Do?

Modeling: Work conducted during the first project year focused on improvement of the user interface for the carbon footprint model and conversion of the model source code to facilitate integration of new modules.

Amino Acid Supplementation: Experimental work has commenced for the amino acid supplementation study, and preliminary results suggest that crude protein reduction is feasible without adverse effect on animal growth performance.

Health Status: All equipment has been purchased and experimental apparatus construction began in June 2012, and laboratory renovation to enable biosafety level 2 conditions so that very high health status animals can be maintained are nearing completion. In addition, a technician with experience in the operation of manure bioreactors has been hired and will assist with bioreactor construction and operation.

Manure Management: The gasification system has been successfully operated with an algae feed stock in a series of preliminary, proof-of-concept tests. The algal turf system has been fully constructed and is now operational with samples being taken for nitrogen and bacteria levels.

For More Information

Prioject Director: Greg Thoma gthoma@uark.edu, Co-Project Director: Marty Matlock mmatlock@uark.edu
Principle Investigators: Richard Ulrich, Jennie Popp, Charles Maxwell, Thomas Costello, Scott Radcliffe, Mark Hanigan, Brian Richert, Karl VanDevender, Sammy Sadaka, Chengsheng Li, William Salas

Specific Research Projects: