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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321036

Research Project: Management of Manure Nutrients, Environmental Contaminants, and Energy From Cattle and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Ammonia, total reduced sulfides, and greenhouse gases of pine chip and corn stover bedding packs

Author
item Spiehs, Mindy
item Brown Brandl, Tami
item Parker, David
item Miller, Daniel
item Berry, Elaine
item Wells, James - Jim

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2015
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Spiehs, M.J., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Parker, D.B., Miller, D.N., Berry, E.D., Wells, J.E. 2016. Ammonia, total reduced sulfides, and greenhouse gases of pine chip and corn stover bedding packs. Journal of Environmental Quality. 45:630-637.

Interpretive Summary: Livestock producers are faced with increasing pressure to reduce or eliminate gases that contribute to odor (ammonia and total reduced sulfides) and global warming (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) from their facilities. Bedding material may be one management tool that can reduce odors or pathogens in livestock facilities. Many different types of bedding material are used by livestock producers. Producers who raise beef cattle in confined facilities prefer corn stover as bedding because it is readily available and economical, but alternative bedding materials are needed to meet local demands for bedding. Pine bedding is used in dairy operations and preliminary studies suggest it may have some beneficial characteristics that reduce odors and gases compared to corn stover. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of bedding material on concentration of ammonia, total reduced sulfides, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Lab-scaled bedded manure packs were established and housed in environmentally controlled rooms for six weeks. Corn stover and kiln-dried pine chips were mixed in various ratios (0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 100% pine chips with the balance being corn stover) and evaluated as bedding materials. Once weekly, air was collected from each bedded pack and analyzed for concentration of ammonia, total reduced sulfides, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Ammonia concentrations were highest for bedded packs containing 0, 10, and 20% pine chips in the bedding mixture and were lowest when at least 80% pine chips were used as bedding. Total reduced sulfides were highest when 100% pine chips were used as bedding. Greenhouse gases were largely unaffected by bedding material. A mixture of bedding material that contains 30 – 40% pine chips may be the ideal combination to mitigate both ammonia and odorous total reduced sulfide emissions.

Technical Abstract: Bedding materials may affect air quality in livestock facilities. The objective of this study was to compare headspace concentrations of ammonia (NH3), total reduced sulfides (TRS), carbon dioxide (CO2),methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) when pine wood chips and corn stover were mixed in various ratios (0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, and 100% pine chips) and used as bedding in lab-scaled bedded manure packs. Air samples were collected from the headspace of the lab-scaled bedded packs weekly for 42 days. Ammonia concentrations were highest for bedded packs containing 0, 10, and 20% pine chips (501.7, 502.3, and 502.3 mg m-3, respectively) in the bedding mixture and were lowest when at least 80% pine chips were used as bedding (447.3 and 431.0 mg m-3, respectively for 80 and 100% pine chip bedding). Peak NH3 concentrations were observed at Day 28. Total reduced sulfides were highest when 100% pine chips were used as bedding (11.4 µg m-3), with a peak between Days 7 and 14, and again at Day 35. Greenhouse gases were largely unaffected by bedding material. Methane and CO2 concentrations increased as the bedded packs aged, but N2O was variable through the study. A mixture of bedding material that contains 30 – 40% pine chips may be the ideal combination to mitigate both NH3 and TRS emissions. Concentration of all gases increased as the bedded packs aged, suggesting that more frequent cleaning of facilities would improve air quality in the barn, regardless of bedding materials used.