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Use of Aluminum Sulfate (Alum) to Reduce Ammonia Emissions from Cattle Bedded Manure Packs

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-078)
Authors:   Mindy J Spiehs
Keywords:   Ammonia, Bedded barns, Beef, Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen sulfide, Methane, Nitrous oxide.

Abstract. The poultry industry has used aluminum sulfate (alum) as a litter amendment to reduce NH3 emissions but alum has not been evaluated for similar uses in cattle facilities. A study was conducted to measure NH3, greenhouse gases (GHG), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from bedded manure packs over a 42-day period. Two frequencies of application (Once or Weekly) and four alum concentrations (0, 2.5, 5, and 10%) were evaluated. Frequency of alum application to bedded packs was either the entire treatment of alum applied on Day 0 (Once) or 16.6% of the total alum volume applied each week for six weeks. Ammonia, GHG, and H2S were measured once weekly. When all of the alum was added on Day 0, the 10% alum lowered NH3 emission for 21 days compared to the bedded packs containing 0% alum. Weekly additions of 10% alum lowered NH3 emissions relative to 0% alum for the entire 42-day sampling period. Hydrogen sulfide emission increased as the concentration of alum increased in the bedded packs. Nitrous oxide emissions were not affected by alum treatment. Methane (CH4) emissions increased as the concentration of alum increased in the bedded packs, with weekly additions producing more CH4 than one-time applications for each concentration of alum. Carbon dioxide emissions were highest when 5% alum was applied to the bedded packs and lowest when 0% alum was used. To effectively reduce NH3 emissions, 10% alum was needed but H2S and CH4 emissions may increase when this concentration of alum is used.

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