Achieving a Nitrogen Balance for Japanese Domestic Livestock Waste: Testing the Scenario of Planting Feed Grain in Land Left Fallow

  • Kaku, K. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Ikeguchi, A. (Headquarters, Research Strategy & Survey Section, National Agricultural Research Organization) ;
  • Ogino, A. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Osada, T. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Hojito, M. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Shimada, K. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science)
  • Received : 2003.10.14
  • Accepted : 2004.04.17
  • Published : 2004.07.01


In this study, we assess the recent changes in the amount of excretion by the livestock industry, and discuss the effects of increasing the ratio of cultivated land on the reduction of surplus nitrogen from a cost-performance perspective. Nitrogen has contributed to acidification of ecosystems and nitrate concentrations in groundwater, especially in Europe. Therefore, we assessed the level of nitrogen waste from the domestic Japanese livestock industry, including cattle, swine and poultry during the period 1987-2001. This assessment assumed that 40% of the nitrogen from the domestic livestock industry was emitted as gas into the air and that 60% of the nitrogen was contained in manure used on domestic cultivated land. Nitrogen excreted from livestock, excluding gas emission, decreased by 11% from 0.504 million tons to 0.447 million tons during 1993-2001. Thus, the peak period of nitrogen excretion from livestock is already past in Japan. However, the area of cultivated land under management also decreased during 1990-2000. In addition, the area of paddy and upland fields left unplanted for a year increased during 1990-2000. Therefore, if all manure from the domestic livestock industry had been utilized on the fields as organic fertilizer, but not on arable land left uncultivated for the past year, the nitrogen per net area of cultivated land would have increased by 5%, from 125 to 131 N kg/ha, during 1990-2000. To reduce the nitrogen ratio on cultivated land through the planting of feed grain to utilize the nitrogen, a comparison of the cost performance of feed grains indicated that barley would be more suitable than wheat, rice or soybean. Had barley been planted in 100% of the land left fallow for the past year in 2000, 4% (20,000 tons) of the nitrogen from livestock waste would have been used in the harvest, and the nitrogen per land unit would have not increased but decreased from 125 to 121 N kg/ha during the same decade. Furthermore, when converted into Total Digestible Nutrients, 7% of imported feed corn could have been replaced with the harvested barley in 2000. Planting barley on this fallow land had three benefits; reducing the risk of manure overload on the land, slowing down the decrease in cultivated land, and raising the feed self-sufficiency ratio. Thus, it would be beneficial to plant feed grain such as barley in land left fallow for the past year through utilization of manure.


Nitrogen Balance;Livestock;Barley;Manure Overload;Groundwater;Land Left Fallow for Past Year


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