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Manure injection study measures ammonia emissions

June 21, 2011
Dairy farmers can greatly reduce ammonia emissions from their production facilities by injecting liquid manure into crop fields below the soil surface, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). By reducing ammonia emissions, valuable nitrogen can be conserved which will be available for crop growth, thereby reducing the need for inorganic fertilizers. In addition, in many states, air
quality regulations require the implementation of best-management practices to reduce ammonia emissions, which are a human health concern. These findings could help dairy farmers increase nitrogen capture in the soil and protect air quality from agricultural ammonia emissions.
 
Over the three-day study period, the greatest losses of ammonia were recorded during the 48 hours immediately following the manure applications, with the majority of losses occurring within 24 hours.
Surface broadcasting manure resulted in an average ammonia concentration of 0.17 milligrams of nitrogen per cubic meter, and shallow incorporation resulted in an average ammonia concentration of 0.16 milligrams of nitrogen per cubic meter. Fields where manure had been applied using subsurface injection had an average ammonia concentration of 0.06 milligrams of nitrogen per cubic meter, which was 65 percent lower than losses resulting from manure application via shallow incorporation or surface broadcasting. There was
no significant difference in the concentration of ammonia from subsurface injection of manure or the background sites, suggesting that ammonia losses were negligible when manure was injected.
 
These results suggest that immediate incorporation of manure is needed to minimize ammonia losses and the benefits are greater when manure is incorporated within 24 hours and lesser when incorporated within 48 hours. It should be noted that the manure application using the rolling tine aerator to incorporate the manure could potentially reduce ammonia emissions if lower application rates were utilized or if the system was used in pasture instead of cropland.
 
The study concluded that dairy farmers who land-apply manure could best reduce ammonia emissions using subsurface injection and that immediately incorporating manure deep in the soils during its application can limit losses of manure nitrogen from ammonia volatilization.
 
THE SHORT STORY: 
1.       Shallow incorporation of manure using rolling time incorporators yielded no reduction in ammonia losses as compared to surface applied manure.
2.       Deep injection of manure reduced ammonia losses to zero.
3.       Preserving the ammonia content of manure will reduce the need for purchased fertilizer.
4.       Ammonia emissions are harmful to people and to the environment.
 
Originally reported by April Leytem and published in Progressive Dairyman.
http://www.progressivedairy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5571:manure-injection-study-measures-ammonia-emissions&catid=77:manure&Itemid=121   

 

 

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