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Feeding Amino Acids to Reduce Air Emissions and Carbon Footprint of Swine Production

14 August 2014

No diet effects were observed for greenhouse gas (nitrous-oxide, methane or carbon dioxide) emissions in this report for Pork Checkoff by Wendy Powers of Michigan State University.

A lower crude protein diet with synthetic amino acid supplementation has proven to be an effective
way to reduce ammonia (NH3) emissions from swine housing. However, there are limited feed-through-field studies to quantify gas emissions and carbon footprint changes due to feeding strategies.

This study investigated air emissions and nutrient balance from swine housing, manure storage and field applications using a reduced-protein diet mitigation strategy.

Seventy-two growing pigs in 12 experimental rooms were fed standard crude protein or reduced crude protein diets over five feeding phases. Diets contained similar energy and lysine contents within each phase.

Results showed that diet did not alter average daily gain, daily feed intake or feed conversion ratio. As a result of feeding the standard crude protein diet, room ammonia concentration and emissions were double that when the reduced crude protein diet was fed.

No other gases were affected by dietary treatments.

Manure was collected to represent a single sample for each diet treatment during the grow/finish period.

After storage, manure was applied to a soil surface and air emissions monitored, with no differences in ammonia, nitrous-oxide or methane emissions.

Because no changes in greenhouse-gas emissions were observed during any phase of the study (housing, manure storage or land application), no difference between diets in the carbon footprint of pork production would be calculated if the boundary was drawn around the farm.

Findings may be different if the effect of producing synthetic amino acids were compared to that of meeting nutrient requirements through feedstuffs.

Further Reading

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August 2014

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