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Technical Resources

Nitrogen management: why is it important?

Siragusa, G.

Uric acid is the primary source of N in the poultry litter, which is converted to urea and hydrolyzed into NH3 in the litter environment. Ammonia is partitioned into solid, liquid and gas phases depending on the conditions of the environment. Higher litter pH increases the volatilization of ammonia from litter when pH is greater than 7, and high moisture and high temperatures are present such as the vicinity of watering lines. Therefore, the concomitant presence of high litter moisture, higher temperature, and high pH, creates conditions for an increased in conversion of uric acid and urea to ammoniacal nitrogen and volatilization. Consequences of this sequence are increases in incidence of footpad lesions, and respiratory and mucosal irritation, ultimately decreasing broiler performance and economic returns and inferior animal welfare. Efficiencies of scale achieved by modern poultry science depend upon controlling the total rearing environment. This includes litter, feed/water, air/environment. Published microbiome analyses applied to the avian production environment are becoming more and more available to practitioners as well as academic workers. Similarly, the tools for generating and analyzing microbiome data is now considered to be nearly a routine exercise.

The objective of this talk will be to review available literature and give insights on nitrogen management and its link with the microbiome, importance from a sustainability and health standpoint, and how modulating microbiome and ultimately functional pathways would ameliorate gas emission in poultry production.