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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGING FARMS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND PROFIT

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: DairyGEM: A software tool for assessing emissions and mitigation strategies for dairy production systems

Author
item Rotz, Clarence

Submitted to: Western Dairy Air Quality Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 7, 2011
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
Citation: Rotz, C.A. 2011. DairyGEM: A software tool for assessing emissions and mitigation strategies for dairy production systems. Western Dairy Air Quality Symposium, Convergency of Science and Regulation. p. 31-35.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Many gaseous compounds are emitted from dairy farms. Those of current interest include the toxic compounds of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide and the greenhouse gases of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. A relatively easy to use software tool was developed that predicts these emissions through the simulation of farm processes. The new model called DairyGEM (Dairy Gas Emission Model) provides an educational tool for estimating gaseous emissions from dairy production systems and evaluating the effects of management changes used to reduce emissions. The major processes creating emissions are simulated through time over 15 years of weather to obtain long term estimates of maximum and average emissions. The major components of the model include available feeds, animal intake and manure production, and manure handling. Balanced rations are prepared for each animal group on the farm and their feed intake is determined to meet their energy and protein requirements. Based upon feed intake, growth, and milk production, the nutrient output in manure is predicted. From this nutrient excretion, emissions are predicted as a function of weather conditions and management practices. Predicted emissions and the carbon footprint of the simulated production system are graphically displayed. This software is available through Internet download for use in individual, workshop and classroom education. Better education on farm emissions and their control will lead to the development of more sustainable production systems.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014