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Ammonia Emissions from Dairy Lagoons in the Western U.S.

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 61(3): 1001-1015. (doi: 10.13031/trans.12646) @2018
Authors:   April B. Leytem, David L. Bjorneberg, C. Al Rotz, Luis E. Moraes, Ermias Kebreab, Robert S. Dungan
Keywords:   Ammonia, Emission, Inverse dispersion, Manure.

Abstract. Ammonia (NH3) emissions from dairy liquid storage systems can be a source of reactive nitrogen (N) released to the environment, with a potential to adversely affect sensitive ecosystems and human health. However, little on-farm research has been conducted to estimate these emissions and determine the factors that may affect these emissions. Six lagoons in south-central Idaho were monitored for one year using open-path Fourier transform spectrometry, with NH3 emissions estimated using inverse dispersion modeling (WindTrax software). Lagoon physicochemical characteristics thought to contribute to NH3 emissions were also monitored over this period. Average total emissions from the lagoons ranged from 12 to 43 kg NH3 ha-1 d-1, or 5.4 to 85 kg NH3 d-1. Emissions from the settling basin on one dairy were 30% of the total emissions from the liquid storage system, indicating that basins are important sources of on-farm NH3 emissions. Emissions generally trended greater during the summer, when temperatures were greater. High wind events and agitation of the lagoons created temporary increases in NH3 emissions irrespective of temperature. Lagoon physicochemical characteristics, such as total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN), were highly correlated with emissions (r = 0.52 and 0.55, respectively). Regression models were developed to predict on-farm NH3 emissions and indicated that TKN, TAN, wind speed, air temperature, and pH were the main drivers of these emissions. An on-farm N balance suggested that lagoon NH3-N losses represented 9% of total N lost from the facility, 65% of total lagoon N, and 5% of dairy herd N intake. A process-based model (Integrated Farm System Model) estimated values for N excretion and NH3-N loss from the lagoon within 5% of that measured on-farm. More on-farm research is needed to better refine both process-based models and emission factor estimates to more accurately predict NH3 emissions from lagoons on dairies in the western U.S.

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