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Ammonia and Greenhouse Gas Flux from Manure in Freestall Barn with Dairy Cows on Precision Fed Rations

Adviento-Borbe, M.A.A., Wheeler, E.F., Brown, N.E., Topper, P.A., Graves, R.E., Ishler, V.A., Varga, G.A.
Transactions of the ASABE 2010 v.53 no.4 pp. 1251-1266
air, air temperature, alfalfa, ambient temperature, ammonia, barns, carbon dioxide, concrete, corn, correlation, crude protein, dairy cows, diet, drinking water, feces, free stalls, grasses, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, hay, humidity, lactation, methane, microbial activity, nitrous oxide, particle size, silage, urine
Two lactating cow trials were conducted to evaluate the impact of diets differing in silage source (alfalfa/maize vs. grass/maize or maize/hay) and maize grain particle size (fine vs. coarse) on ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from a freestall barn floor with two groups of 60 cows each. In addition, the effects of environment (temperature, humidity) and management (manure depth, time since manure removal) factors were evaluated. Manure (feces and urine), spilled feed, bedding, and spilled drinking water were allowed to collect on the solid concrete, sloped barn alleys and were scraped twice a day. Gas fluxes from the freestall floor were measured at 64 locations over a 12 h period using a fast-response, non-steady-state flux chamber and an infrared photoacoustic gas analyzer during 18 trial days over a 9-month period. Fluxes of ammonia from manure on the barn floor were within average reported values for these 165 g kg-1 crude protein diets. All gas fluxes were similar (p = 0.253 to 0.977) regardless of silage source and maize grain particle size. The highest average ammonia emissions coincided with higher environmental temperature at 30 NH3 g AU-1 d-1, while the highest average greenhouse gas emissions from the manure on the floor were 10 g AU-1 d-1 for CH4 and 580 g AU-1 d-1 for CO2. Time in hours since scraping the floor had little impact on the production of ammonia, but greenhouse gas loss from the barn floor was reduced after scraping. Air and manure temperatures were positively correlated with emissions of NH3, CO2, and CH4 (p = <0.0001). NH3 (g AU-1 d-1) = 10(1.03+0.019*T(air)) (R2 = 0.38) for indoor air temperatures (T(air), °C) over the range from -5°C to 32°C (AU = 500 kg animal unit). Ammonia emissions were positively correlated with CO2 and CH4 gas emissions, suggesting that NH3 release from the manure was controlled to some extent by microbial activity and similar environmental factors. Nitrous oxide emissions remained <0.1 g AU-1 d-1 and were relatively constant for all diets and trials.