Ammoniation of Cattlefeed on Bovine Methane emissions

  • Thread starter Hyo X
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Has this study been done?
It seems the ammoniation [using ammonium hydroxide] of low-quality straw to increase digestibility of the feedstock is an established practice. Also, cows are a pretty big producer of methane, a significant greenhouse gas. Does treating with ammonium hydroxide the cattlefeed increase or decrease bovine methane emissions?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
jim mcnamara
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There is a problem - only a fraction (lowest quality straw) of the ammoniated silage is usable, on better quality silage the ammonia causes circling disease in calves nursing on mothers fed ammoniated better silage. Quality in this sense is measured as a function of lignin (indigestible dry matter) content of silage.
More indigestible = poorer quality == higher lignin content.

Look up Listeriosis (pathogen is Listeria monocytogenes) for more details. pH of the silage consumed by the mother cow is the controlling factor.

pdf for cattle farms: http://beef.unl.edu/cattleproduction/ammoniatingcropresidues
http://www.thecattlesite.com/diseaseinfo/192/listeriosis/
 
  • #4
Fervent Freyja
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http://www.climatetechwiki.org/technology/straw-ammoniation-and-silage
seems like it would reduce methane emissions
Yes, it states that it would reduce methane emissions, but also clearly states there are possible consequences to keep in mind.

"The ammonia utilisation efficiency is as low as approximately 50%. The surplus ammonia is discharged into the environment after the ammonisation facilities are opened, which causes environmental pollution and threatens the health of animals and human beings."
 
  • #5
256bits
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Some UN information for you to digest
http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/T0423E/T0423E03.htm

On most diets based on crop residues and low-digestibility forages, the primary limitation to the growth of rumen micro-organisms is probably the concentration of ammonia in rumen fluid The second consideration is deficiencies of minerals, particularly sulphur, phosphorus, magnesium and certain trace minerals
Microbial cells, that are synthesised from the feed resource use the ATP that is generated in the formation of VFA from the feed to provide the energy for synthesis. The microbes are lost from the rumen pool either by passage out of the rumen to be partially digested in the intestine or by death and breakdown within the rumen (with formation of VFA, CO2 and methane). Lysis and degradation in the rumen is inefficient as it makes the protein of microbes unavailable as such to the animal.
Because microbial cells are more reduced than the substrate fermented, the quantity of microbial cells leaving the rumen per unit of carbohydrate consumed is related to methane production. The efficiency of microbial growth is then a primary determinate of the quantity of methane produced.
There has been vigorous debate on whether supplementation of sheep and cattle on low quality forage based diets with urea and/or bypass protein increases intake of the basal feed resource (see Leng, 1989b). The differences in results may be hypothesised to be a result of an interaction between climate and the balance of nutrients available from a diet. When research results (Australian) on the effects of supplementation to balance nutrition of cattle on low quality forages are grouped according to climatic zones a pattern emerges (Figure 3.4).
It appears to be in the tropics and subtropics where poor quality forage intake by cattle is low without supplementation and where significant responses in feed intake occurs when a non-protein nitrogen deficiency is corrected and extra protein that escapes rumen fermentation is provided in the diet. It is strongly stressed that supplementation with urea and proteinmeals increases voluntary intake of poor quality forages by cattle under tropical conditions to approximately the same level of intake as unsupplemented cattle under temperate conditions (Leng, 1989b). In this situation the supplement is only correcting a depressed intake back to normal intake.
 

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