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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Powell, Joseph
item Satter, Larry
item Misselbrook, T

Submitted to: Review Article
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2004
Publication Date: 6/1/2004
Citation: Powell, J.M., Satter, L.D., Misselbrook, T.A. 2004. Ammonia production and loss from dairy farms. Integrated pest & crop management. Dairy manure and air quality:the issues. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Over the past several years regulatory approaches to improving environmental impacts of agriculture focused on reducing phosphorus losses to surface water. Environmental policy is now tending towards the reduction of air emissions. For dairy, ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) is the most important potential pollutant and its effect reaches regional, national, and global scales. This paper cover the following topics: why ammonia loss is a concern; environmental impacts of ammonia; how ammonia is formed and lost; impact of ammonia loss on plant availability of manure N; and general approaches to reduce ammonia emissions from dairy farms. The following steps in descending order of potential benefit are proposed: (1) remove excess protein from the cow's diet.; (2) incorporate manure in the field. This strategy needs to consider potential tradeoffs in situations where nitrate leaching may be a concern; (3) cover the manure storage; and (4) for new construction, install floors that divert urine away from feces. Implementation of steps 1-3 above could potentially reduce ammonia N loss to the atmosphere from about 115 to 30-40 lbs/cow/yr, a 65-70% reduction. This means additional 70-80 lbs. N per cow would be available annually for application to field crops.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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