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The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of scraping frequency (2× vs. 6× daily) on N volatilization from manure on the floor of a dairy free-stall barn. Three trials (crossover design) were conducted in the summers of 2001 and 2002, and in the winter of 2003. Nitrogen volatilization was estimated from the change in the N:P ratio in excreta at the time of excretion to the time when manure was scraped from the barn. Total N loss was considered a maximum estimate of NH3-N loss, because small amounts of nonammonia N may be volatilized. Nitrogen was determined after manure subsamples were lyophilized; P content was measured by direct current emission spectroscopy of ashed subsamples of manure. Lactating dairy cows were fed high-protein (18.5 to 19.3% crude protein), alfalfa-based diets. Average milk yield was 31.9 (SD = 7.4) kg/d. Scraping frequency had no effect on N loss in summer 2001. An average of 41% of excreted N, or 238 ± 19.0 g of N/d per cow, was volatilized. For the trial in summer 2002, nitrogen volatilization was reduced from 50% of the excreted N with 2× to 46.7% with 6×, equivalent to 265 and 248 g of N lost/d per cow, respectively. Scraping had no effect on N volatilization during the winter trial. An average of 17.7% of excreted N was volatilized during the winter, equivalent to 109 ± 11.0 g of N lost/d per cow. Scraping frequency of manure had little or no effect on N loss from manure in a freestall barn. Nitrogen loss during the winter was less than half of the loss during the summer. © American Dairy Science Association, 2006.

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Journal of Dairy Science

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