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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392105

Research Project: Strategies to Manage Feed Nutrients, Reduce Gas Emissions, and Promote Soil Health for Beef and Dairy Cattle Production Systems of the Southern Great Plains

Location: Livestock Nutrient Management Research

Title: The state of the science for reducing ammonia emissions along Colorado’s Front Range: Review of kinetics and management approaches

item BRANDANI, CAROLINA - Texas A&M University
item AUVERMANN, BRENT - Texas A&M Agrilife
item CROSMAN, ERIK - West Texas A & M University
item LEE, MYEONGSEONG - Texas A&M University
item Brauer, David - Dave
item PARKER, DAVID - West Texas A & M University
item CASEY, KEN - Texas A&M University
item Beck, Matthew - Matt
item SHAW, BRYAN - Shaw Engineering, Llc

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/24/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Confined feeding operations, both dairy and beef operations, along the Colorado's Front Range are a significant source of ammonia emissions that are subsequently blown into the Rocky Mountain National Park. This pollution source into a National Park is an issue that needs to be mitigated. While their is a wealth of knowledge surrounding climatic, geographic, and nutritional management effects on ammonia emissions, there is a lack of reviews that summarize and collate the available information. As such researchers from Texas A & M - AgriLife, West Texas A & M, ARS, and private industry plan to present the current state of knowledge around mitigation options and how weather, climate, and geography influence ammonia emissions. Ultimately, a better understanding around these topics will help provide options for producers around Colorado's Front Range for mitigating ammonia emissions that subsequently enter the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Technical Abstract: Ammonia (NH3) transport into Colorado’s Front Range is a reasonably predictable, seasonal phenomenon. Specific meteorological conditions (e. g., upslope winds, especially in the spring and summer) and the proximity of emission sources along the adjacent South Platte River basin and surrounding High Plains coincide to move NH3-laden air masses into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), where wet atmospheric deposition subsequently enriches sensitive alpine ecosystems with reactive nitrogen. To the extent the total NH3 load into RMNP may be attributed to fugitive NH3 emissions from open-lot cattle-feeding operations along the Front Range, the deposition flux is sensitive to the temperature-, moisture-, chemistry-, and aerodynamics-driven mechanisms that are known to modulate NH3 emissions from open-lot corral surfaces. Here we present (a) the state of the science with respect to the seasonality and temporality of upslope weather events and (b) how to combine short-term weather forecasts with our understanding of emission dynamics from cattle feedyards to reduce NH3 deposition in RMNP, thereby contributing to Colorado’s “glidepath” target deposition flux of 1.5 kg N ha-1 yr-1 by 2032. Given the urgency of ensuring that feedyard-management recommendations are both affordable and demonstrably effective, we outline the scientific basis, practicality, effectiveness, and duration of each of the promising mitigation tactics, with marginal costs where those can be rationally estimated.