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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Livestock Bio-Systems » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338891

Research Project: Sustainable Management and Byproduct Utilization of Manure Nutrients and Environmental Contaminants from Beef and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Livestock Bio-Systems

Title: Use of aluminum sulfate (alum) to decrease ammonia emissions from beef cattle bedded manure packs

item Spiehs, Mindy
item Woodbury, Bryan

Submitted to: Waste to Worth Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Spiehs, M.J., Woodbury, B.L. 2017. Use of aluminum sulfate (alum) to decrease ammonia emissions from beef cattle bedded manure packs. In: Proceedings of Waste to Worth Conference, April 18-21, 2017, Raleigh, North Carolina. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Confined cattle facilities are an increasingly common housing system in the Northern Great Plains of the United States. Ammonia volatilization from the surface of the floor and bedding in these confined facilities depends on several variables including pH, temperature, and moisture content. When pH is above 8, a large percentage of inorganic nitrogen is in the ammonia form and can be easily volatilized. When pH is lowered, nitrogen is converted to the nonvolatile ammonium form which increases the total nitrogen content of the manure/bedding mixture, theoretically improving the fertilizer value and reducing ammonia emissions. The poultry industry has successfully used aluminum sulfate (alum) as a litter amendment to control ammonia emissions, but the use of alum in cattle facilities has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to determine if the addition to alum to simulated cattle bedded packs would lower ammonia emissions, and to determine the frequency of dosing needed to maintain a reduction in ammonia emissions.