(mostly wheat). Other harvested animal feeds included 123 MMT of hay and alfalfa, 4.76 MMT of sorghum as silage, and approximately 68 MMT of harvested roughage (such as cornstalks) mixed with other feeds, for a total of 319 MMT of harvested feeds. By-products of the food processing industry such as grain mill by-products (e.g., gluten), oilseed meal, brewers and distillers dried grains, meat and fish meal, dried milk, dried beet pulp, and molasses accounted for an additional 33.4 MMT of animal feeds (United States Department of Agriculture, 1992, table 3).4 Assuming animal intake of pasturage (mainly by cattle) to be about 200 MMT, we can account for total animal feed consumption in 1988 of 552.4 MMT, not including water, salt, urea, or other minor inputs.

Animal feed concentrates in the United States average 79 percent digestibility. From this, we can conclude that 21 percent of the mass of animal feed concentrates (156.3 MMT) fed to dairy cattle, beef cattle in feedlots, hogs, and poultry is passed through immediately in feces. Harvested roughage, or silage and hay (196 MMT), has lower digestibility, probably around 60 percent. This implies 40 percent passes through in feces. Therefore, annual manure output from on-farm and industrial animal feeding operations amounts to about 100 MMT. In addition, USDA (1992) estimates that animal intake from pastures is about 200 MMT. Assuming 60 percent digestibility, roughly 80 MMT of manure is probably left on pastures. This figure could be too low; the digestibility of pasturage may be as low as 40 percent.5

Of the total annual manure output of about 180 MMT, it appears that 100 MMT is generated in confinement, and of this, 75 percent (75 MMT) is probably recycled to croplands (Smil, 1993). The remainder of the manure from feedlots (25 MMT, about 50 percent water) is lost to runoff or in other ways. The 80 MMT of manure left on pastures is returned directly to the soil—but not to croplands per se—and does not constitute a waste.

As to the outputs of the livestock sector, a total of 111.3 MMT can be accounted for as the gross weight of animal carcasses and dairy products produced for the market. (See below.) Adjusting for the "excess" water content of raw milk (87 percent water), we assume that the sector produces about 81 MMT of equivalent animal products having the same average moisture content as feeds (50 percent). As noted above, feed inputs equal 552 MMT and manure outputs (50 percent moisture basis) are 180 MMT. Simple arithmetic (552 - 180 - 81) reveals that 291 MMT are lost through metabolic (respiration) processes.

An estimated 50 percent of this lost mass (approximately 145 MMT) is carbohydrate (CH2O) metabolized for energy. This implies that animals consume 155 MMT (1.067 x 145) of oxygen and produce 213 MMT (1.47 x 145) CO2. The oxidation process also generates 87 MMT (0.6 x 145) of water as vapor in addition to the 115 MMT of water contained in the feed and not otherwise accounted for. Most of this ends up in manure or urine. The water balance is more complicated, of course, because we have not allowed for the water consumed and re-excreted by the animals.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement