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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368632

Research Project: Enhancing Production and Ecosystem Services of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: FGD gypsum litter effects on gaseous losses from a broiler house

item Watts, Dexter
item Runion, George
item Purswell, Joseph - Jody
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item DAVIS, JEREMIAH - Auburn University

Submitted to: International Journal of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2019
Publication Date: 12/17/2019
Citation: Watts, D.B., Runion, G.B., Purswell, J.L., Torbert III, H.A., Davis, J.D. 2020. FGD gypsum litter effects on gaseous losses from a broiler house. International Journal of Poultry Science. 19:42-50.

Interpretive Summary: Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, N2O and CH4) have been rising since the pre-industrial revolution. It is believed that this rise of heat trapping gases are contributing to global climate change. Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum has been suggested as an alternative bedding material for broiler production. However, the effects of FGD gypsum broiler house litter (manure plus spent bedding) management on greenhouse gas emissions is largely unknown. Thus, a study was conducted to evaluate the influence of FGD gypsum litter on greenhouse gas emissions and NH3 volatilization. Results suggest that FGD gypsum had little effect on greenhouse gas emissions, but NH3 concentrations tended to be lower with FGD gypsum.

Technical Abstract: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are increasing at an unprecedented rate and are expected to double pre-industrial revolution levels within this century. The effects of broiler house management on these emissions are unknown. A study was conducted to examine the effect of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum bedding on efflux of NH3, CO2, CH4, and N2O. FGD gypsum bedding was compared with pine shavings and pine shaving + FGD gypsum (50:50 mix) and each litter type was either decaked or rotovated after each flock. Flux measurements (CO2, CH4, and N2O) and NH3 concentrations were taken during flocks 4 and 5. Litter treatment had little effect on GHG gas emissions during flocks 4 and 5, but NH3 concentrations tended to be lower with FGD gypsum. Decaking tended to lower NH3 concentration and GHG emissions due to removal of some of the manure material. This first examination of the effects of different litter materials on GHG emissions from broiler houses showed that FGD gypsum can be used without impacting climate change; however, more research is needed to verify these results.