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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Safe Management and Use of Manure, Biosolids, and Industrial Byproducts

Location: Genetics and Precision Agriculture Research

Title: Broiler litter ammonia emissions near sidewalls, feeders and waterers

Authors
item Miles, Dana
item Brooks, John
item McLaughlin, Michael
item Rowe, Dennis -

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 19, 2013
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/56984
Citation: Miles, D.M., Brooks, J.P., McLaughlin, M.R., Rowe, D.E. 2013. Broiler litter ammonia emissions near sidewalls, feeders and waterers. Poultry Science. 92:1693-1698.

Interpretive Summary: Ammonia generated from broiler litter diminishes indoor air quality which can potentially decrease bird productivity. Emissions of ammonia exhausted from broiler houses pose environmental concerns for ecosystem biodiversity, aquatic nutrient enrichment and particulate formation in the atmosphere. This research assessed ammonia generated near the sidewalls, waterers, and feeders in tunnel ventilated commercial broiler houses. Moisture content of litter samples was greatest at waterers (44%) followed by sidewalls (28%) and feeders (24%). Overall, litter pH was 8.26 at waterers, 8.68 at sidewalls, and 8.46 at feeders. Laboratory tests showed litter located near waterers emitted the most ammonia with less ammonia associated with sidewalls and feeders. The results indicate that controlling ammonia near watering lines to a level consistent with feeding lines and near the house wall could reduce NH3 generated by 38 to 77%. These findings support efforts for improved drinker design, appropriate attention to waterer management and possible consideration of zone litter treatments during a growout.

Technical Abstract: Ammonia (NH3) volatilized from broiler litter diminishes indoor air quality which can potentially decrease bird productivity. Emissions of NH3 exhausted from broiler houses pose environmental concerns for ecosystem biodiversity, aquatic nutrient enrichment and particulate formation in the atmosphere. Research was conducted sampling litter in three tunnel ventilated commercial broiler houses during week three (mid growout) of flocks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9. The purpose was to assess NH3 generated near the sidewalls, waterers, and feeders. Litter samples (100 g) were placed in chambers receiving constant air flow. Boric acid (H3BO3) titration each 24 hours for 4 days was used to determine NH3 volatilized from the samples. Litter located near waterers emitted the most cumulative NH3 (approximately 12.3 mg N kg litter-1 h-1) with less NH3 associated with feeders and sidewalls (2.9 to 7.6 mg N kg litter-1 h-1). Moisture content of litter samples was greatest at waterers (44 ± 14%) followed by sidewalls (28.4 ± 7.3%) and feeders (24.4 ± 9.5%). Overall, litter pH was 8.26 at waterers, 8.68 at sidewalls, and 8.46 at feeders; comparing brood vs. fan litter samples indicated higher litter pH in the fan half of houses (8.55 vs. 8.38). The results indicate that controlling NH3 near watering lines to a level consistent with feeding lines and near the house wall could reduce NH3 generated by 38 to 77%. These findings support efforts for improved drinker design, appropriate attention to waterer management and possible consideration of zone litter treatments during a growout.

Last Modified: 4/25/2014
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