Zeolite’s Agricultural Benefits – Overview
BioGreen Technologies Inc. primary goal is to supply natural zeolites to benefit large-scale, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including dairy cows, beef cattle, swine and poultry. Although the term CAFO has legal significance with regards to federal state regulations, number and type of animals confined, and confinement criteria, throughout this website we refer to CAFOs generically. That is, natural zeolites can benefit any animal husbandry/agricultural system where animal waste production occurs in a confined area, and large-scale animal waste disposal is an economic and environmental problem.
The two main applications for natural zeolites in CAFOs are in animal feeds and for animal bedding. Including natural zeolites in animal feeds has shown to improve animal health, increase weight, improve nitrogen uptake efficiency, reduce infections, and makes the resulting manure less liquid and odiferous. Studies also have shown that including natural zeolites in the feed reduces the farmer’s need for antibiotics, supporting the national movement to minimize antibiotic use in CAFOs.
Incorporating natural zeolites for animal bedding has shown to significantly reduce odors and excess moisture, thereby significantly reducing risks of respiratory and hoof infections in ruminants and swine, and mastitis in dairy cows. When the manure-zeolite mixture is removed from the pens and used to fertilize agricultural crops, zeolites’ ability to sequester ammonia and absorb/release water provides many additional benefits for the farmer. The two diagrams below highlight the benefits when utilizing zeolites for agricultural crops, including recycling nitrogen on farm, minimizing noxious odors, minimizing contamination of airborne and waterborne nitrogen to the surrounding environment, and more efficient use of irrigation water.
In both diagrams below, nitrogen comes to the CAFO as animal feed. The blue arrows indicate both the size and path of this nitrogen. About 10-15% of the nitrogen in the animal feed ultimately ends up in the animal, with the remainder excreted. As illustrated below, incorporating natural zeolites in animal bedding and fertilizing crops with the zeolite-manure increases nitrogen recycling and reuse on farm, improves animal health, and creates a more economically and environmentally sustainable CAFO farming system.