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

Measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from Australian feedlot beef production using open-path spectroscopy and atmospheric dispersion modelling

Zoë Loh A , Deli Chen A E , Mei Bai B , Travis Naylor B , David Griffith B , Julian Hill A , Tom Denmead A C , Sean McGinn A D and Robert Edis A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Faculty of Land and Food Resources, University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia.

C CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia.

D Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48(2) 244-247
Submitted: 6 August 2007  Accepted: 25 November 2007   Published: 2 January 2008


Feedlot production of beef cattle results in concentrated sources of gas emissions to the atmosphere. Reported here are the preliminary results of a micrometeorological study using open-path concentration measurements to determine whole-of-feedlot emissions of methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3). Tunable near-infrared diode lasers were used to measure line-averaged (150–400 m) open-path concentrations of CH4 and NH3. A backward Lagrangian stochastic model of atmospheric dispersion and the software package WindTrax were used to estimate greenhouse gas fluxes from the measured concentrations. We studied typical Australian beef feedlots in the north (Queensland) and south (Victoria) of the continent. The data from a campaign during summer show a range of CH4 emissions from 146 g/ in Victoria to 166 g/ in Queensland and NH3 emissions from 125 g/ in Victoria to 253 g/ Queensland.


The study is jointly funded by the Australian Greenhouse Office and Meat and Livestock Australia.


Denmead OTD, Chen D, Loh ZM, Bai M, Naylor T, Griffith DWT (2008) Emissions of the indirect greenhouse gases NH3 and NOx from Australian beef cattle feedlots. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 213–218.

DeRamus HA, Clement TC, Giampola DD, Dickison PC (2003) Methane emissions of beef cattle on forages: efficiency of grazing management systems. Journal of Environmental Quality 32, 269–277.
CAS | PubMed |

Flesch TK, Wilson JD, Harper LA, Crenna BP, Sharpe RR (2004) Deducing ground-to-air emissions from observed trace gas concentrations: a field trial. Journal of Applied Meteorology 43, 487–502.
CrossRef |

Flesch TK, Wilson JD, Harper LA, Crenna BP (2005) Estimating gas emission from a farm using an inverse-dispersion technique. Atmospheric Environment 39, 4863–4874.
CrossRef | CAS |

Flesch TK, Wilson JD, Harper LA, Todd RW, Cole NA (2007) Determining ammonia emissions from a cattle feedlot with an inverse dispersion technique. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 144, 139–155.
CrossRef |

McGinn SM, Flesch TK, Harper L, Beauchemin KA (2006) An approach for measuring methane emissions from whole farms. Journal of Environmental Quality 35, 14–20.
CrossRef | CAS | PubMed |

McGinn SM, Chen D, Loh Z, Hill J, Beauchemin KA, Denmead OT (2008) Methane emissions from feedlot cattle in Australia and Canada. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 183–185.

Todd RW , Cole NA , Harper LA , Flesch TK , Baek BH (2005) Ammonia and gaseous nitrogen emissions from a commercial beef cattle feedyard estimated using the flux-gradient method and N : P ratio analysis. In ‘Proceedings of the Symposium on State of Science: Animal and Waste Management, San Antonio, Texas’. (CD-ROM)

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (24)