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Ammonia and Greenhouse Gas Concentrations at Surfaces of Simulated Beef Cattle Bedded Manure Packs

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 58(3): 783-795. (doi: 10.13031/trans.58.10961) @2015
Authors:   Ferouz Y. Ayadi, Erin L. Cortus, Mindy J. Spiehs, Daniel N. Miller, Gemechis D. Djira
Keywords:   Air quality, Ammonia, Bedpack, Beef cattle manure, Deep-bedded system, Confined system, Emission, Greenhouse gases, Manure nutrient management.

Abstract. Bedding is used in livestock operations to facilitate manure management and provide comfort for the animal. Our research objective was to determine differences in ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4) concentrations from simulated beef cattle bedded manure packs (BP) related to storage length (0 to 3, 3 to 6, and 6 to 9 weeks), bedding material (corn stover (CS) or soybean stubble (SB)), and temperature (10°C or 40°C). Bedding, fecal material, and urine were added weekly to 24 laboratory-scale BP (n = 2 per treatment combination). Static flux chamber samples from BP headspace were analyzed for CO2, N2O, and CH4 at 0, 24, 46, and 144 h and for NH3 at 0, 5, 9, 23, 34, 46, and 144 h after weekly manure and bedding addition for three consecutive weeks using a doubly repeated measures design. Ammonia concentrations were three times higher above BP in the Hot chamber (1190 ppm, SE = 47) compared to the Cold chamber (400 ppm, SE = 9). Average concentrations for CO2 (6033 ppm, SE = 211), CH4 (42 ppm, SE = 4), and N2O (0.61 ppm, SE = 0.05) were approximately twice as high at 40°C as for CO2 (3902 ppm, SE = 161), CH4 (21 ppm, SE = 2), and N2O (0.39 ppm, SE = 0.03) at 10°C. At 40°C, NH3 concentrations above CS treatments (1388ppm, SE = 75) were higher than above SB treatments (992 ppm, SE = 51). Overall, a higher storage temperature increased all gas concentrations. Increases in concentrations with length of storage were detected for CH4 and CO2, while bedding affected NH3 at 40°C and impacted changes in increase for CH4 concentrations. These data suggest that seasonal management decisions can impact gas production and release in barns using BP. During hot months, NH3, CO2, CH4, and N2O concentrations are expected to increase and when applying CS as the bedding, NH3 concentrations will likely be higher with CS bedding compared with SB bedding. At temperatures around 10°C, CO2 and CH4 concentrations are anticipated to increase with longer storage lengths.

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