Nav: Home

Reducing ammonia pollution from cattle

October 19, 2016

Improved barn design, cleaning processes, and manure treatment could reduce ammonia emissions from commercial dairy cattle barns by 17 to 50%, according to a new study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The study provides a list of techniques and technologies that could provide the greatest reductions in ammonia emissions.

Reactive nitrogen pollution and, more specifically, ammonia pollution in general have impacts on both the environment and human health--it can lead to algal blooms in freshwater, threatening aquatic wildlife, and contribute to smog that damages human health.

"Under the Natura 2000 framework, EU member countries were requested to regulate their discharge of reactive nitrogen into protected natural ecosystems," says study lead author Luciano Barreto Mendes, a postdoctoral fellow in the IIASA Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases and Ecosystems Services and Management programs. "But there is a lack of empirical data on how to do this. Our study aimed to assess to what extent management and design technologies could reduce emissions in full-scale commercial dairy cattle cubicle barns."

Mendes and colleagues approached the problem using a model of ammonia emissions that was designed to calculate the ammonia emission reductions potential of new or adapted dairy cattle barns. It incorporates management technologies and processes designed to reduce pollution.

In northwestern Europe, dairy cattle are usually housed in large barns, where they are kept loose, and manure, which is the source of ammonia emissions, is removed and stored in a pit beneath the barn. A number of factors contribute to how much ammonia escapes from the manure into air, including chemical processes, temperature, and air flow.

The new study assesses the emissions reduction potential of a number of techniques, including floor scraping, flushing with water, manure acidification, and using different types of flooring.

"Cow manure may not be the most glamorous subject for research, but the fact is that how we deal with waste has a major impact on the health of our environment. This study provides a useful set of interventions that farmers and agriculture policymakers can use to inform their compliance with EU regulations," says Mendes.

Barreto Mendes L, Pieters JG, Snoek D, Ogink NWM, et al. (2017) Reduction of ammonia emissions from dairy cattle cubicle houses via improved management- or design-based strategies: A modeling approach. Science of the Total Environment, 574. pp. 520-531.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Related Lead Articles:

Poor diet can lead to blindness
An extreme case of 'fussy' or 'picky' eating caused a young patient's blindness, according to a new case report published today [2 Sep 2019] in Annals of Internal Medicine.
What's more powerful, word-of-mouth or following someone else's lead?
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, UCLA and the University of Texas published new research in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, that reveals the power of word-of-mouth in social learning, even when compared to the power of following the example of someone we trust or admire.
UTI discovery may lead to new treatments
Sufferers of recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) could expect more effective treatments thanks to University of Queensland-led research.
Increasing frailty may lead to death
A new study published in Age and Ageing indicates that frail patients in any age group are more likely to die than those who are not frail.
Discovery could lead to munitions that go further, much faster
Researchers from the U.S. Army and top universities discovered a new way to get more energy out of energetic materials containing aluminum, common in battlefield systems, by igniting aluminum micron powders coated with graphene oxide.
More Lead News and Lead Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...