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Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Broiler Houses in the Southeastern United States

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2008 Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008  084649.(doi:10.13031/2013.25013)
Authors:   Robert T Burns, Hong Li, Hongwei Xin, Richard S Gates, Douglas G Overhults, John Earnest, Lara Beal Moody
Keywords:   Greenhouse gas (GHG), methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, emissions, broilers

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), from broiler houses located in the southeastern United States were continuously monitored over a one-year period. The birds were grown to 52 days of age at an average stocking density of 11.8 birds/m2 (1.1 birds/ft2). Methane and CO2 emissions were measured in two broiler houses while N2O emissions were measured in one house. Carbon dioxide and N2O concentrations were measured using a photoacoustic multi-gas analyzer and CH4 concentrations were measured using a dual-channel methane/non-methane-hydrocarbon (NMHC)/total hydrocarbon analyzer with dual flame ionization detectors. Ventilation rates in each house were continuously calculated by monitoring the building static pressure and operational status of all ventilation fans in conjunction with individual fan performance curves developed and verified in situ using a Fan Assessment Numeration System (FANS) unit. Annual CO2 emissions measured from the two broiler houses averaged 606 Mg (668 US tons) per house. On a marketed bird basis the CO2 emissions averaged 4.64 Mg (5.49 US tons) per 1,000 birds marketed. Annual CH4 emissions averaged 445 kg (982 lbs) per house, or 3.41 kg (7.52 lbs) per 1,000 birds marketed. Annual N2O emissions measured from one broiler house was 225 kg (496 lbs) per house, or 1.72 kg (3.8 lbs) per 1,000 birds marketed. The CO2 equivalents of the CH4 and N2O emissions were, respectively, 85.3 kg (188 lb) and 512.6 kg (1,128 lb) per 1,000 birds marketed. Hence the total CO2 equivalent GHG emissions for the broiler operations monitored in this study were 5.238 Mg per 1,000 birds marketed, with 88.6% contributed by CO2.

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