Sheppard, S. C., Bittman, S., Swift, M. L., Beaulieu, M. and Sheppard, M. I. 2011. Ecoregion and farm size differences in dairy feed and manure nitrogen management: A survey. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 91: 459-473. This paper describes the activity of dairy farmers in Canada in 2005 related to the use of nitrogen (N) and especially practices that led to loss of ammonia (NH3). The data were obtained from a large-scale, statistically structured survey conducted across Canada. The survey sampling was stratified into 10 Ecoregions and across farm size. Numbers of lactating cows per farm were nearly twofold more in the west than the east. In western Canada less than 31% of barns were “tie-stall” type whereas 80% were tie-stall in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. The numbers of hours lactating cows spent in barns, standing yards, exercise fields and pasture varied with Ecoregion and farm size, important data in relation to NH3 emissions. Pasturing was more common in the east than west. Matching feed crude protein concentrations to physiological needs seems a potential best management practice, and smaller farms with tie-stalls seemed more prone to adjusting feed to individual cows compared with large farms with loose housing. Manure handling was divided, with slurry prominent especially in the west. Manure spreading practices also varied by Ecoregion. Overall, it is clear that national averages do not well represent dairy farm management: Ecoregion and farm size differences are significant.
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