Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Simultaneous measurements of ammonia volatilisation and deposition at a beef feedlot

M. R. Redding A C , R. Lewis A and P. R. Shorten B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A AgriScience Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, PO Box 102, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

B AgResearch Limited, Ruakura Research Centre, Private Bag 3123, Hamilton 3214, New Zealand.

C Corresponding author. Email: matthew.redding@daf.qld.gov.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17310
Submitted: 12 May 2017  Accepted: 24 August 2017   Published online: 7 December 2017

Abstract

The nitrogen (N) excreted at intensive livestock operations is vulnerable to volatilisation, and, subsequently, may form a source of indirect nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The present study simultaneously investigated volatilisation and deposition of N at a beef feedlot, semi-continuously over a 129-day period. These data were examined relative to pen manure parameters, management statistics and emission-inventory calculation protocols. Volatilisation measurements were conducted using a single, heated air-sampling inlet, centrally located in a feedlot pen area, with real time concentration analysis via cavity ring-down spectroscopy and backward Lagrangian stochastic (bLS) modelling. Net deposited mineral-N was determined via two transects of soil-deposition traps, with samples collected and re-deployed every 2 weeks. Total volatilised ammonia amounted to 210 tonnes of NH3-N (127 g/animal.day), suggesting that the inventory volatilisation factor probably underestimated volatilisation in this case (inventory, 30% of excreted N; 65 g N volatilised/animal.day; a value of ~60% of excreted N is indicated). Temperature contrast between the manure and air was observed to play a significant role in the rate of emission (R2 = 0.38; 0.46 Kendall’s tau; P < 0.05). Net deposition within 600 m of the pen boundary represented only 1.7% to 3% of volatilised NH4+-N, between 3.6 and 6.7 tonnes N. Beyond this distance, deposition approached background rates (~0.4 kg N/ha.year).

Additional keywords: manure, micrometeorology.


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