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Greenhouse Gases Emissions from Multi-Species Animal Operations and Potential Diet Effects

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 57(1): 219-227. (doi: 10.13031/trans.57.10246) @2014
Authors:   Zifei Liu, Wendy Powers
Keywords:   Emission, Farm, INNOVA, IPCC, Livestock, Manure, Methane, Nitrous oxide.

Abstract. Gas emissions from various animal species were measured in controlled environmental rooms at Michigan State University under various dietary strategies over the course of 17 studies, including two broiler studies, four laying hen studies, one turkey study, two swine studies, four steer studies, two heifer studies, and two dairy cow studies. The objective of this article is to summarize the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data (CH4, N2O, and CO2) from these 17 studies and the potential diet effects on GHG emissions from multi-species animal operations. The CH4 concentrations measured by an INNOVA 1412 analyzer showed large discrepancies compared with those measured by a Thermo Scientific Model 55C CH4 analyzer when CH4 concentrations were lower than 10 ppm, indicating significant influence of air moisture on the INNOVA measurements of CH4 at low concentration levels. The ratios of mean measured CH4 emission rates over estimated values using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approaches ranged from 25% to 116% in the 17 studies. The measured N2O emission rates were much higher than the IPCC estimated direct N2O emission rates, especially for poultry. The total GHG emissions in CO2 equivalent units (CO2e) were in the range from 6436 to 31839 g CO2e d-1 AU-1. Poultry operations had much lower CH4 emissions than ruminants but had higher N2O emissions. In poultry operations, contributions of N2O to total GHG (19.5% to 21.9%) were much larger than contributions of CH4 (1.2%). In ruminant operations, contributions of CH4 (18.5% to 44.4%) were more important than contributions of N2O (1.7% to 16.2%). Swine operations had relatively low emissions of both N2O and CH4; therefore, their total GHG emissions were lowest compared with ruminants and poultry operations. Lower N diets had no significant effect on CH4 and direct N2O emissions, although they resulted in lower N excretion and therefore could reduce NH3 and indirect N2O emissions. Diet modification related with distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and different feed ingredients could significantly affect CH4 emissions, which merits further investigation for both ruminant and non-ruminant species.

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