Author(s): Tamminga S
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Abstract Primary (plant), secondary (animal), and tertiary (human) biological systems are driven by energy, either fossil or renewable energy in biomass. Their ratio shifts from about 10:90 in primary, via 25:75 in secondary, to 90:10 in tertiary systems. Energy input in ruminant production is mainly as plants and plant parts from primary production, and the amount needed per unit product (milk, meat) primarily depends on its digestibility. This is high in young, leafy, whole plants, in roots and tubers, and in reproductive organs (whole seeds) or organ parts (by-products) of mature plants. Use of fossil energy per kilogram of DM for primary production ranges from 1 to 3 MJ in forage to over 8 MJ in concentrate feeds, whereas input per kilogram of milk is 1 to 10 MJ. Biomass energy used in ruminant production contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), but in a ratio rarely balanced to the animals requirements. In secondary systems, energy is partitioned between foods of animal origin and waste. The latter contains OM, N, P, K, and gases (CO2, CH4), which may cause environmental problems. Losses per kilograms of milk vary and are 10 to 45 g for N, 0 to 3 g for P, and 2 to 20 g for K. Environmental impacts of animal production can be reduced by varying the use of inorganic fertilizer and changing the forage to concentrate ratio. Digestibilities can be improved by proper harvest management. Level and ratio of dietary N, P, and K can be adjusted to requirements by selecting proper ingredients, reducing their loss in waste. Limited scope exists to reduce losses in respiration and fermentation gases.
This article was published in J Anim Sci
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals