Study of nitrogen fluxes across conventional solid floor cubicle and compost-bedded pack housing systems in dairy cattle barns located in the Mediterranean area: Effects of seasonal variation
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The aim of this study was to determine the effect of housing system (or manure management system) and season on manure N recovery and volatilization using an N mass balance. Dietary, milk and manure N were monitored together with outside temperatures in six dairy barns. Three barns were designed as conventional free stalls (cubicle, CUB) with an automatic manure scraper system and concrete floor, in which the gutter in the middle was continuously scraped (every 2 - 4 h) and the slurry was conveyed towards an open-air concrete pool. The other three barns were designed as a loose housing system (HS) with a compost bedded pack (CB) and conventional confinement housing provided with a feed alley that was cleaned mechanically (2-3 times per day). The farms under study were located near Lleida in the center of the Ebro valley, in northeastern Spain. N recovery was measured twice under farm-like conditions either during spring-summer (3 months of increasing temperatures) or during fall-winter (3 months of decreasing temperatures). The number of cows per barn ranged from 99 to 473, and average age, mean lactation, and parturition intervals were 4.1 years, 2.43 lactations, and 426.6 days, respectively. In spring-summer time, animals ate more (26.3 vs 23.8 kg DMI/d) and produced more milk (34.6 vs 31.3 kg/d milk yield ± 0.68). However, milk composition did not change. Stored manure from the CB system showed a higher dry matter (DM) concentration with respect to the CUB system (379.15 vs 97.65 g/kg fresh matter [FM]); however, N (31.45 vs 40.2), NH3-N (5.3 vs 18.9) and its ratios with phosphorus (NH3-N/P: 3.52 vs 5.2) and potassium (NH3-N/K: 0.615 vs 2.69) showed the opposite trend. No differences (g/d) were found in N intake (653 vs 629.5) or milk N secretion (190 vs 177.8 for CUB and CB barns, respectively) although net N recovery of the excreted N (Nintake - NMilk) in manure in CB barns was significantly lower than in CUB systems (193.8 g/day versus 389.3 g/day). The proportion of N irreversible loss in relation to the N intake was higher in CB than in CUB barns (42.3 vs 11.0%). There was no clear association between the season and the irreversible-N losses; however, the housing system was pivotal in the association between the N recovery in manure and the irreversible losses by volatilization.
Is part ofJournal of Dairy Science, 2020. In Press
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by-nc-nd (c) Balcells Terés, Joaquim et al., 2020
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