Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2006
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Ammonia emissions from poultry litter not only result in air pollution; high levels of ammonia in poultry houses cause poor bird performance, increase the susceptibility of birds to viral diseases, and negatively impact human health. Although ammonia emissions are a concern, few cost-effective best management practices (BMPs) have been shown to reduce ammonia losses. The objectives of this study were to: (1) measure ammonia volatilization from poultry litter in broiler houses and following land application, (2) evaluate the factors that affect ammonia losses from litter, and (3) determine the impact of BMPs on ammonia volatilization. Four commercial broiler houses were equipped with ammonia sensors, anemometers, and data-loggers which continuously record ammonia concentrations and ventilation. A nitrogen (N) budget was also conducted in the broiler houses to make sure measured ammonia losses were equivalent to the difference between N inputs (feed) minus N outputs (poultry carcasses and litter). Lab studies showed that ammonia loss from litter increases as litter moisture and/or pH increases. Ammonia volatilization following land-application was evaluated using ammonia wind tunnels. Average ammonia emissions from one broiler house containing 34,000 birds were 68 kg/day. The addition of aluminum sulfate (alum) to the litter was found to greatly inhibit ammonia loss. An ammonia scrubber that attaches onto the exhaust fans of poultry houses was developed and tested. This scrubber utilizes a dilute aluminum sulfate (alum) solution to capture ammonia and dust, was shown to significantly reduce ammonia concentrations in exhaust air. Ammonia losses from poultry litter following land application totaled 34 kg N/ha (15% of the total N applied), when the litter was broadcast applied onto pastures. However, when litter was incorporated, ammonia losses were virtually zero. This research indicates that there are several BMPs that can be utilized to reduce ammonia volatilization from poultry litter.