Determination of gas emissions from manure sources in animal feeding operations

Project Overview

GW13-006
Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2013: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Grant Recipient: Utah State University
Region: Western
State: Utah
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Scott B. Jones
Utah State University
Major Professor:

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy

Practices

  • Education and Training: extension

    Abstract:

    Air pollutants from animal feeding operations (AFOs) cause public health and environmental problems, becoming critical issues for farm workers and populations living near livestock production sites. In addition to degrading the local air quality, AFOs emit greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. While best management practices (BMPs) play an important role in accomplishing emission mitigation, developing effective BMPs requires accurate on-farm determination of emissions that reflects region-specific climatic conditions and operation practices. This project proposed to develop a novel emission measurement system that can be used for establishment of site-specific BMPs and for evaluation and improvement of efficiency of currently available BMPs for livestock producers in the West. As a multi-component project, the project scope also included dissemination of project information and findings through several channels, including professional presentations, as well as education and outreach programs.

    This final report focuses on project activities carried out during the years 2013 and 2014, including development of a chamber-based gas emission measurement system, laboratory and field emission measurements of targeted gases (i.e. ammonia – NH3, methane – CH4, and carbon dioxide – CO2), and public dissemination of project information and findings.

    Introduction

    The goal of this project is to reduce the environmental impacts of livestock production in the West and minimize greenhouse gas emissions, thereby improving the sustainability of livestock production. The specific objectives of this proposal are to measure and develop understanding of animal manure-based gas emissions in development of site-specific BMPs and improve current practices.

    Air pollutants from livestock operations cause public health and environmental problems, becoming critical issues for farm workers and populations living near livestock production sites. AFOs increase asthma in neighboring communities, and children living closer to an AFO have a greater risk of asthma symptoms. In addition to degrading the local-scale air quality, AFOs emit greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. While BMPs play a major role in accomplishing emission mitigation, developing effective BMPs requires accurate on-farm determination of emissions that reflects region-specific climatic conditions and operation practices. Semiarid regions in the Western U.S., where environment conditions are much drier than the East, require a gaseous emission measurement system. Establishing an accurate and reliable measurement system is critical for demonstrating the most effective BMPs in reducing environmental impacts of livestock production in the Western region. A novel emission measurement system was developed to be used as a tool to evaluate and improve efficiency of currently available BMPs for livestock producers in the West.

    This project was a multi-component project consisting of (1) establishment of the novel measurement method for gas emission measurement from manure sources, (2) demonstration of the proposed measurement approach in development of site-specific BMPs and evaluation and improvement of current practices, and (3) dissemination of project information and findings through multi communication channels, including journals, professional presentations, as well as education and outreach programs.

    Project objectives:

    To improve the sustainability of livestock production in the Western region, this project aimed to reduce the environmental impacts of beef and dairy operations, particularly by minimizing gas emissions from manure management practices. Specific objectives of the project are listed as follows:

    Objective 1: To develop a gas emission measurement system that can be used as a tool for establishing site-specific BMPs to reduce gaseous emissions from AFOs and for evaluating efficiency of current BMPs for the producers in the West.

    Objective 2: To measure gaseous emissions from AFOs in the Intermountain West and develop site-specific BMPs as well as improve current BMPs for the Western region.

    Objective 3: To disseminate project information, collected emission data, and findings from the project to stakeholders, including livestock producers, agricultural professionals, local, state, and federal agencies to (a) address the adverse effects of gas emissions from AFOs on public health and the environment and (b) introduce respective BMPs for alleviating air quality issues.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.