Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources ResearchTitle: Experimental research on the effects of water application on greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle feedlots) Author
Submitted to: International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2014
Publication Date: 7/1/2014
Citation: Aguilar, O., Maghirang, R., Trabue, S.L., Erickson, L. 2014. Experimental research on the effects of water application on greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle feedlots. International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering. 5:1-12. Interpretive Summary: A laboratory study was conducted to determine the effect water application has on greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions from cattle feedlot surfaces. Feedlot surface conditions tested were the following: 1) dry and loose; 2) moist and loose; and 3) moist and compacted pen surface. GHG emissions from the dry soil/manure samples were low, compared to moist soil/manure samples. Water application from either simulated rain or sprinkler systems resulted in large peaks of GHG fluxes. This study shows that moisture conditions strongly influence impact levels of greenhouse gases. Information in this report will be of value to growers, engineers, and regulatory officials on the impact cattle feedlots have in local communities.
Technical Abstract: The effect of water application (e.g., through rainfall or sprinkler system) on emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and carbon dioxide (CO2), from pen surfaces of open-lot beef cattle feedlots was evaluated under controlled laboratory conditions. Soil/manure samples were collected from several randomly selected pens from two beef cattle feedlots in Kansas and were used as simulated pen surfaces. Three treatments (i.e., dry and loose, moist and loose, and moist and compacted pen surface conditions) were considered, simulating surface conditions in the field after a typical rainfall event or water application with a sprinkler system. Soil/manure and water were mixed within glass containers and analyzed for GHG emission using a photo-acoustic infrared multi-gas analyzer; emission rates were calculated from measured concentrations. GHG emissions from the dry soil/manure samples were low, with mean values of 0.02, 0.00, and 45 mg m-2 h-1 for N2O, CH4, and CO2, respectively, compared to moist soil/manure samples. Water application on the dry manure samples resulted in large peaks of GHG fluxes, with peak values of 99.2, 28.6, and 15,443 mg m-2 h-1 for N2O, CH4, and CO2, respectively.