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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The goal of this project is to demonstrate technology that reduces ammonia emissions from poultry litter in key subwatersheds of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while simultaneously demonstrating the effects of these treatments either in combination or alone, on phosphorus runoff and leaching, as well as on crop production and poultry production. We expect these technologies will reduce ammonia emissions by 75% or more when used together. Phosphorus runoff and leaching, when alum-treated litter is land-applied, should be reduced substantially compared to normal litter that is surface applied. The numbers generated will be made available for the Chesapeake Bay model. We also expect corn yields to be higher due to increased N use efficiency and poultry production to be improved due to cleaner air in the houses. In order to achieve this goal, the following objectives need to be met: 1. Refine the design of the ammonia scrubber developed by Moore, building on lessons learned from the first two prototypes of this invention and construct an ammonia scrubber based on the new design which will be used to build the mold needed for making fiberglass copies. 2. Install two ammonia scrubbers on two farms in the Shenandoah Valley and two farms on the eastern shore of Virginia (total of eight scrubbers). 3. Quantify ammonia emission reductions from broiler houses with ammonia scrubbers, alum-treatment of litter, or both technologies and determine benefits of these technologies on poultry production. 4. Quantify water quality and crop production benefits of these technologies with or without the use of litter incorporation. 5. Provide technology transfer to farmers, poultry industry personnel, extension agents, NRCS personnel and other agencies in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed on the efficacy of the treatments on reducing ammonia emissions and improving water quality. Although this is only one objective, demonstrating these technologies at every step is at the core of this project.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This project will be conducted over a 3-year period. During the first year the ammonia scrubber will be redesigned and a mold will be made for manufacturing fiberglass scrubbers. Eight scrubbers will then be built, transported to VA, and installed at the demonstration farms. Two of the farms will be located on the Eastern Shore and two farms in the Shenandoah Valley. During the second and third year, ammonia reduction technologies will be demonstrated on the farms, and ammonia emission measurements will be made. Demonstrations will also be made during years 2 and 3 and will include a third location (Princess Anne, MD). Regular field days will be held at the poultry houses and the yield trials in the Shenandoah Valley and the Eastern Shore, to demonstrate these technologies to farmers and other stakeholders.

3. Progress Report:
This is a cooperative project with Virginia Tech scientists that is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Ammonia emissions from poultry houses may negatively affect air quality. The goal of this research is to demonstate technology that reduces ammonia emissions from poultry litter in the Cheasapeake Bay Watershed, such as using an ammonia scrubber to reduce emissions from poultry houses. During the past year we investigated the effects of ventilation rate and ammonia concentration on the efficiency of the scrubber.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/29/2017
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