Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Animal Science (Ruminant Nutrition), Under the Supervision of Professors Galen E. Erickson and Terry J. Klopfenstein. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Andrea K. Watson


Three anaerobic digestion trials were conducted to evaluate methane production from feedlot manure. As organic matter content of manure decreased, degradation of manure and methane production also linearly decreased (P ≤ 0.02). Quality, or organic matter content of manure, had a greater impact on anaerobic digestion than diet (with and without distillers grains) fed to cattle. Minerals are concentrated in effluent removed from anaerobic digesters.

Knowing mineral retention within cattle allows for more accurate calculation of mineral excretion in manure. Three serial slaughter trials measured mineral retention in growing and finishing cattle. During a growing phase, beef cattle gaining 1.10-1.18 kg/d retained 6.8 g Ca, 3.9 g P, 0.24 g Mg, 1.2 g K, and 0.73 g S/100 g protein gained. Finishing beef cattle, gaining 1.63-2.02 kg/d retained 7.9-17.3 g Ca, 3.2-6.2 g P, -0.027-0.41 g Mg, 0.48-2.9 g K, and 0.29-1.9 g S/100 g protein gained. Retention of minerals was also measured in Holstein steers serially slaughtered every 28 d after 226 days on a finishing ration. Retention of Ca, P, Mg, K, and S linearly decreased (P < 0.01) over days on feed when expressed as g/d. Expressing retention relative to protein gain resulted in no differences across days on feed (P ≥ 0.11) averaging 14.4 g Ca, 7.5 g P, 0.45 g Mg, 1.3 g K, and 1.0 g S/100 g protein gained. In all trials, expressing mineral retention relative to protein gain allowed for better comparisons of mineral retention across a range of weights and ADG.

Advisers: Galen E. Erickson and Terry J. Klopfenstein