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Nitrogen loss from cattle feedlots as impacted by the addition of clinoptilolite zeolite to the ration or open-lot surface conditions

Dawn M Sherwood, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Increasing media and public awareness are bringing environmental changes and concerns into the spotlight. Animal production systems use and subsequently release large amounts of nitrogen. As a result, producers will need to incorporate cost effective methods to reduce N loss from feedlots without negatively affecting cattle performance. Clinoptilolite zeolite clay is a proposed method to reduce N volatilization. Zeolite clay has a high cation exchange capacity, which may make it effective in adsorbing ammonia. The theory evaluated was that by adding zeolite clay to the diet, the zeolite clay matrix could bind the excess ammonia (NH3) in the rumen; therefore, reducing the amount of ammonia excreted and thus lost to the environment. Two experiments were conducted in which zeolite clay was added to a finishing ration at 0 or 1.2% of the diet. Nitrogen levels for intake, retention and excretion were calculated for nitrogen mass balance. Ammonia emissions were measured the last six weeks of each trial using forced-air wind tunnels. The zeolite clay had no effect on the performance of the steers, nor did it affect NH3 volatilization. ^ Surface conditions of feedlots may influence ammonia emissions. Atmospheric ammonia can contribute to ecosystem acidification, eutrophication and nitrogen deposition. A summer trial was conducted in August, 2005, to determine differences in NH3 flux as affected by four different treatments: moisture (DRY or WET) and/or urine. Forced-air wind tunnels were used to measure NH 3 volatilization over a two-day collection period, which was repeated weekly for three weeks. In this experiment, ammonia loss appeared to be related to soil moisture with greater loss of ammonia from dry surfaces. Ammonia loss followed a diurnal pattern, with the greatest loss prior to 9 AM, then decreasing into the afternoon and evening. No effects of urine addition were detected. ^

Subject Area

Agriculture, Animal Culture and Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Sherwood, Dawn M, "Nitrogen loss from cattle feedlots as impacted by the addition of clinoptilolite zeolite to the ration or open-lot surface conditions" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3271921.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3271921

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