About this Research Topic
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural lands are unavailable for crop production and not only represent an economic impact but are also a leading cause of water quality problems in surface waters worldwide. The majority of food animals are produced in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where many animals are grown together in barns or feedlots. Manure from these operations is commonly applied to nearby crop land to avoid hefty transportation costs, making CAFO owners also crop farmers. In addition to water contamination associated with nutrient losses mentioned above, CAFOs are also associated with air pollution and the spread of pathogenic organisms. Atmospheric losses of N leaves some manure and wastewater with a N:P ratio much lower than needed by crops; such manure applied to meet plants’ N needs leave some fields with excess P.
In some livestock intensive regions with limited local cropland, manure nutrients represent a disposal problem because it is preferred that manure be used locally to avoid high transportation costs. In intensive crop regions with CAFOs, manure is not always viewed as a valuable source of organic fertilizer because of challenges in consistency, equipment, calibration, and odor. Numerous researchers have developed, tested, assessed, criticized, and promoted technologies to either remove carbon and nutrients or create products through various processes. Fewer reports have been published that characterize the economic value of the products or of the improvement to air and water quality and human health. While reports of technological advances and economic impacts are important, a missing component is a meaningful description of how these tools fit into existing systems of crop fertilization and production, animal feeding and manure management, and the human systems and infrastructure in which these activities are embedded.
This collection will include reports that explore new technologies and replacement products, itemize economic and ecosystem costs and benefits, discuss impacts of recovery on neighbors and communities, integrate advances in technology with economic and market analyses, and explore social and functional barriers to adoption of products from manure treatment.
Article types: Brief Research Report, Community Case Study, Curriculum, Data Report, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Reviews, Policy Brief, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, and Book Review.
Keywords: nutrient recovery, sustainable food systems, livestock
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