Improving the efficiency of nitrogen use and reducing ammonia emissions from Pennsylvania dairies

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $179,940.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Dr. Alexander Hristov
Pennsylvania State University

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed formulation, feed rations, manure management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    Reducing feed cost and nitrogen losses are issues of primary concern for dairy producers in Pennsylvania (PA) and throughout the U.S. Dairy farmers in PA are acutely aware of the impact ammonia emissions from their operations may have on human health and the environment and are open to implementing strategies that will improve air and water quality. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to demonstrate the benefits and implement feeding strategies that will reduce nitrogen surpluses and ammonia emissions (by approximately 2,000 lbs/yr/dairy) on 50 PA dairy farms. In Year 1 of the project, low-nitrogen input practices will be implemented in 9 demonstration farms. In years 2 and 3, 400 PA dairy producers will be educated on the benefits of managing a low-nitrogen input dairy operation. Through field days, workshops, seminars (including the Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Conference), popular press articles, newsletters, and other extension activities information collected from the demonstration farms will be disseminated to 3,000 dairy producers in PA. The project team includes academia and extension faculty fully qualified to achieve the goals of the project.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Reduce whole-farm nitrogen inputs on 50 Pennsylvania dairies, representing 5,000 cows and 10,000 acres by approximately 150 tons/yr and reduce ammonia emissions from these dairies by 50 tons/yr while maintaining or improving profitability as measured through Income Over Feed Cost (IOFC).

    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.