Capture/Contain Manure Fertilizer Value
As livestock and poultry producers look for ways to increase profitability, one that should be considered is the value of manure for land-application and nutrient utilization by growing crops, especially as the price of commercial fertilizers continues to escalate. The economic value of manure makes it a good source of added profitability to the farm!
The fate of nitrogen (N) compounds (i.e., urea, uric acid, organic nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen (NH4)) excreted by animals within the nitrogen pathway is dependent upon factors such as pH, feces and urine composition, temperature, air velocity, surface area, and moisture. Ideally, microorganisms in the waste management system use ammonium nitrogen to synthesize organic nitrogen, which increases its fertilizing value and prevents the formation of volatile compounds (e.g., ammonia (NH3)). Nitrification by microbes can also convert ammonium to nitrate nitrogen, which then has a few options as to its final outcome including formation of organic nitrogen, denitrification to volatile compounds, or leaching. Volatile compounds formed from the denitrification of nitrate nitrogen include nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas, and nitrogen gas (N2), the form of nitrogen that naturally occurs in air. It is advantageous to try and reduce nitrogen loss (i.e., volatilization of ammonia, leaching, etc.) that frequently occurs during handling and storage.
Ammonia emissions occur at several different stages of livestock and poultry production. The challenge during manure storage and application is that nitrogen compounds are volatile and when lost, the potential fertilizing value is diminished. It is common to lose 25% of nitrogen during manure storage in deep swine pits. Nitrogen loss in other types of earthen or lagoon storage systems are even greater and often exceed 40%. The same problem is true in other situations, such as beef feedlots or dairy farms, as nitrogen loss can be 25% or greater. Ammonia losses also occur during land application with surface application experiencing the greatest losses. Reducing ammonia losses to improve nitrogen fertilizing value is an area of opportunity for Micro-Aid® to bring value.
How Micro-Aid® Helps…
Micro-Aid® is an all-natural, environmentally-safe feed technology that first begins to work enterically to help optimize a healthy gastrointestinal tract environment. Furthermore, it is not absorbed by the intestinal tract; instead, Micro-Aid® passes through the animal and is excreted along with fecal matter into the waste management system. Once there, Micro-Aid® continues to work in a similar fashion as in the gut to maximize microbial activity, which in turn utilizes undigested nutrients to form organic nitrogen compounds while preventing the formation of noxious gases such as ammonia. This reduction in volatilization of ammonia that occurs due to Micro-Aid® positively impacts the total nitrogen concentration of manure.
In summarizing 21 experiments, Micro-Aid® reduced ammonia emissions, on average, by 44.7%. This summary represents the benefits of Micro-Aid® in several species including poultry, swine, dairy, etc. Micro-Aid® is effective in reducing aerial ammonia and other noxious gases whether it is fed, added to pits and lagoons, or sprayed over litter or bedding.
It is worth noting that research evaluating the effects of Micro-Aid® reported that regardless of diet type fed (diets containing either 0 or 20% distillers dried grains with solubles, DDGS), Micro-Aid® increased organic nitrogen concentration from the slurry samples (i.e., feces and urine together). In this study, slurry samples were collected and placed into an in-vitro storage area for 56 days in order to determine the nitrogen loss that could occur during storage, as well as any changes in nitrogen components. Figure 1 indicates that there was an increase in the ratio of organic nitrogen to total nitrogen when Micro-Aid® was added to the diet, which is indicative of an increase in microbial conversion of nutrients to organic nitrogen. This improvement in nitrogen utilization is further supported by an approximate 20% reduction in volatilization of ammonia nitrogen that was measured in the in vitro model samples. These results indicate that slurry from animals fed Micro-Aid® regardless of the type of diet being fed, will have less nitrogen loss during storage.
Another benefit of this better nitrogen value of manure from animals fed Micro-Aid® is that it creates a more ideal N:P ratio in the manure. This is beneficial to producers whose land-application rates are regulated by phosphorus by allowing them to spread more manure on land and better meet the crops N requirement. More N supplied by the manure minimizes the amount needed to come from a commercial fertilizer source. As well, a more ideal N:P ratio in N-based manure application strategies minimizes excess phosphorus being applied that cannot be taken up by the crop.
Economic Impact of Micro-Aid®…
Using industry average numbers for the cost of commercial fertilizers, the fertilizing value of beef feedlot manure can range from $20 to $40 per head marketed. However, when the measured benefits of Micro-Aid® are accounted for, there is an increase in fertilizing value in excess of $2.75 per head, which is in addition to the economic value gained from the performance and environmental benefits of feeding Micro-Aid®. The same is true in swine, over the past few years the fertilizer value of manure has ranged from $4 to $12 per head marketed. Recent analysis has demonstrated that Micro-Aid® increases this value by as much a $0.70 per head marketed. Finally, similar manure value and Micro-Aid® benefit calculations can be expected in dairy, poultry and other animal species.
Micro-Aid® is an excellent tool to maximize the value of manure for its fertilizing purposes and improve profitability of livestock and poultry producers. The increase in manure value alone often offsets the entire supplementation cost of Micro-Aid® in all feed. When developing the manure management plan for your farm, be sure to include Micro-Aid® in all feed all the time to provide a total program designed to optimize farm value.