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Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Large Commercial U.S. Dairy Farm

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

Citation:  2012 IX International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES IX)  ILES12-1134.(doi:10.13031/2013.41552)
Authors:   Teng-Teeh Lim, Yaomin Jin, Ji-Qin Ni, Albert J Heber, Ruiqiang Liu
Keywords:   Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Carbon Dioxide, Airflow, Temperature, Monitoring, Milk Production

A long-term and comprehensive emission monitoring study was conducted at a large U.S. Midwest dairy farm. The monitoring effort was part of a national monitoring study that included swine, dairy, and poultry operations. The monitored farm was a 3400-cow operation. Monitoring of greenhouse gases (GHG) was conducted in two freestall barns and milking center for 28 months. The monitoring setup and equipment installation followed an approved site monitoring plan, a quality assurance project plan, and instrument or method-specific standard operating procedures. Gas concentrations, ventilation controllers, temperature and relative humidity, barn static pressure, and weather conditions were continuously monitored. In addition, animal inventory, mass, density, and milk production were recorded. As many as 563 valid daily mean data were obtained for each of the methane and carbon dioxide emissions between September 2007 and February 2010, and 98 daily means of valid nitrous oxide measurements that began on September 2009. The average daily mean (SD) cow-specific emissions from identical freestall barns 1 and 2 were 12.61.9 and 12.12.0 kg d-1 hd-1, 37380 and 35674 g d-1 hd-1, and 564919 and 551852 mg d-1 hd-1 for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, respectively. Emissions were also normalized to individual cows, and units of floor area, milk production, and live mass. Methane and nitrous oxide contributed 42% and 0.7% to the total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 e). The total CO2 e emission rates (including the milking center) were 25.57 and 24.86 kg d-1 hd-1 for barns 1 and 2, respectively. Characteristics of the GHG emissions are presented and compared with the literature.

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