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Comparing methane emissions estimated using a backward-Lagrangian stochastic model and the eddy covariance technique in a beef cattle feedlot

Prajapati, Prajaya, Santos, Eduardo A.
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2018 v.256-257 pp. 482-491
beef cattle, eddy covariance, feedlots, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, inventories, methane, methane production, models, stochastic processes, wind
Accurate methodologies to measure emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from livestock systems are necessary to improve the emission coefficients used in national GHG inventories and to evaluate mitigation strategies. The objective of this study was to compare methane (CH4) emissions estimated using the eddy covariance (EC) technique and a backward-Lagrangian stochastic (bLS) model. A closed-path EC system was used to measure CH4 fluxes in a commercial beef cattle feedlot. The EC fluxes were scaled from the feedlot to the animal scale using a footprint analysis. The EC measurements of CH4 concentration and wind data were used with the bLS model to infer CH4 emissions. The average CH4 emissions (±standard deviation) during the experiment were 87 (±30) g animal−1 d−1 and 85 (± 27) g animal−1 d−1 for EC and bLS techniques, respectively. These values are consistent with the results from previous studies with similar animal and feed characteristics. Both techniques were able to capture a pronounced daytime and nighttime variation in CH4 emissions, with higher CH4 emissions during the day and lower emissions at night. Our results indicate that the eddy covariance technique combined with footprint models can be successfully used to accurately measure enteric CH4 from cattle.