- Animals: bovine
- Animal Products: dairy
- Education and Training: extension
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 objective of this project is to measure and develop understanding of animal manure-based gas emissions in development of site-specific best management practices (BMPs) and improvement of 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. Animal feeding operations (AFOs) increase asthma in neighboring communities, and children living closer to an AFO have a greater risk of asthma symptoms. In addition to degradation of 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. The applicant (graduate student) proposes using a novel emission measurement system that can be used to develop site-specific BMPs and to evaluate and improve efficiency of currently available BMPs for livestock producers in the West. This is 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, project summaries and fact sheets, project website, as well as education and outreach programs.
Project objectives from proposal:
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. Specific measurable objectives of this project are:
1. To establish a gas emission measurement system that can be used as a tool for developing site-specific BMPs to reduce gaseous emissions from AFOs and for evaluating efficiency of current BMPs for the producers in the West.
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.
3. To disseminate project information, collected emission data and findings from the project to stakeholders, including livestock producers, agricultural professionals, and 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.
Development of the novel emission measurement system, including design and testing under controlled laboratory settings and field conditions, identified in objective 1, is anticipated to be completed within the first nine months. Dairy and beef cattle farms in Utah will be selected for on-farm measurements in order to demonstrate implementation of the measurement system. Industry representatives will be consulted in development of site-specific BMPs and evaluation of current BMPs (objective 2). Application of the measurement system at the farm level and development of BMPs are estimated to take approximately 13 months.
Led by Dr. Rhonda Miller, project information, collected gas emission data and BMPs will be disseminated via several channels parallel with the project implementation to assess the impact of collected and analyzed feedbacks and comments from participants.