The economic and environmental implications of feedlot manure utilization in the Texas High Plains



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Texas Tech University


Environmental regulations and rising fertilizer costs have made livestock waste management issues important to cattle feedlots, farmers and consumers. These problems are especially evident in the Texas High Plains (THP), an area where vast numbers of cattle are fed alongside a large farm base. The objective of this research was to determine efficient patterns of feedlot manure utilization in the THP that would protect the environment and benefit both feedlot operators and crop producers.

Spatial optimization procedures were used to model the economic and environmental implications of utilizing feedlot manure in predominant cropping practices of the THP. The data for this research was constructed from the 5-year average predominant crop acreages and the locations and capacities of 93 individual feedlots in the 29 county THP region. Estimated costs and returns were estimated for each cropping activity, alternative fertilization rate, and soil types predominant in the THP. Expected crop yields, water requirements, and residual nitrogen and phosphorous levels were estimated with the Erosion-Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC) biological crop/growth simulation model.