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Distillers By-Product Cattle Diets Enhance Reduced Sulfur Gas Fluxes from Feedlot Soils and Manures

Daniel N. Miller, Mindy J. Spiehs, Vincent H. Varel, Bryan L. Woodbury, James E. Wells, Elaine D. Berry
Journal of environmental quality 2016 v.45 no.4 pp. 1161-1168
animal manure management, byproducts, cattle, cattle feeding, cattle feeds, cattle manure, cattle production, corn, diet, distillers grains, emissions, feedlots, nutrient content, phosphorus, soil, soil nutrients, sulfur, surface temperature
Total reduced sulfur (TRS) emissions from animal feeding operations are a concern with increased feeding of high-sulfur distillers by-products. Three feeding trials were conducted to evaluate feeding wet distillers grain plus solubles (WDGS) on TRS fluxes. Fresh manure was collected three times during Feeding Trial 1 from cattle fed 0, 20, 40, and 60% WDGS. Fluxes of TRS from 40 and 60% WDGS manures were 3- to 13-fold greater than the 0 and 20% WDGS manures during the first two periods. In the final period, TRS flux from 60% WDGS was 5- to 22-fold greater than other WDGS manures. During Feeding Trial 2, 0 and 40% WDGS diets on four dates were compared in feedlot-scale pens. On two dates, fluxes from mixed manure and soil near the feed bunk were 3.5-fold greater from 40% WDGS pens. After removing animals, soil TRS flux decreased 82% over 19 d but remained 50% greater in 40% WDGS pens, principally from the wetter pen edges (1.9-fold greater than the drier central mound). During two cycles of cattle production in Feeding Trial 3, TRS soil fluxes were 0.3- to 4-fold greater over six dates for pens feeding WDGS compared with dry-rolled corn diet and principally from wetter pen edges. Soil TRS flux correlated with %WDGS, total N, total P, manure pack temperature, and surface temperature. Consistent results among these three trials indicate that TRS fluxes increase by two- to fivefold when cattle were fed greater levels of WDGS, but specific manure management practices may help control TRS fluxes.