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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Management Practices to Reduce Ammonia Emissions and Phosphorus Runoff.

Author
item Moore, Philip

Submitted to: Midwest Poultry Federation Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2004
Publication Date: March 17, 2004
Citation: Moore Jr, P.A. 2004. Management practices to reduce ammonia emissions and phosphorus runoff. In: Proceedings of Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, March 17, 2004, St Paul, Minnesota. p. 159-169.

Interpretive Summary: Phosphorus runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter can cause serious water quality problems by causing nuisance algal blooms. These algae give off compounds that give drinking water a very bad taste and odor. Likewise, the evaporation or volatilization of ammonia from poultry manure can cause air quality problems, both inside poultry houses and once it is released into the atmosphere. High levels of ammonia in chicken houses can cause the birds to grow poorly and be more susceptible to diseases. High ammonia levels are also detrimental to the health of agricultural workers. This is a review paper on the problems associated with excessive phosphorus runoff and ammonia emissions from poultry litter. It documents many of the best management practices (BMPs) that can be used to control these problems. One of the BMPs that reduces the magnitude of both of these problems is the addition of aluminum sulfate (alum) to the litter. Other BMPs are also discussed.

Technical Abstract: Two of the biggest environmental challenges facing the poultry industry are atmospheric ammonia emissions and non-point source phosphorus runoff from fields fertilized with litter. High ammonia levels in poultry houses result in an unhealthy working environment for producers and cause negative impacts on poultry productivity, such as lower weight gains, poor feed conversion and reduced egg production. Ammonia emissions from poultry rearing facilities also have a negative impact on the environment, causing acid rain, particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM-10s), and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition into lakes and rivers. Phosphorus is normally the limiting nutrient for algal growth in freshwater systems, hence excessive phosphorus (P) runoff can lead to eutrophication. This paper is a review of some of the best management practices that poultry producers can use to control ammonia emissions and phosphorus runoff from poultry manure. It documents the environmental and production problems associated with ammonia emissions, as well as the problems caused by excessive non-point source phosphorus pollution, and suggests best management practices (BMPs) for control of both problems. One such BMP is the application of aluminum sulfate (alum) to poultry litter. Addition of this compound to the litter both reduces phosphorus runoff and inhibits ammonia loss from the litter. Other BMPs are also discussed in this paper.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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