Season and bedding impacts on ammonia emissions from tie-stall dairy barns

J. M. Powell, T. H. Misselbrook, M. D. Casler

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Federal and state regulations are being promulgated under the Clean Air Act to reduce hazardous air emissions from livestock operations. Few data are available on emissions from livestock facilities in the USA and the management practices that may minimize emissions. The objective of this study was to measure seasonal and bedding impacts on ammonia emissions from tie-stall dairy barns located in central Wisconsin. Four chambers each housed four Holstein dairy heifers (17 mo of age; body weights, 427–522 kg) for three 28-d trial periods corresponding to winter, summer, and fall. A 4x4 Latin Square statistical design was used to evaluate four bedding types (manure solids, chopped newspaper, pine shavings, and chopped wheat straw) in each chamber for a 4-d ammonia monitoring period. Average ammonia-N emissions (g heifer–1 d–1) during summer (20.4) and fall (21.0) were similar and twice the emissions recorded during winter (10.1). Ammonia-N emissions accounted for approximately 4 to 7% of consumed feed N, 4 to 10% of excreted N, and 9 to 20% of manure ammonical N. Cooler nighttime temperatures did not result in lower ammonia emissions than daytime temperatures. Ammonia emissions (g heifer–1 d–1) from chambers that contained manure solids (20.0), newspaper (18.9), and straw (18.9) were similar and significantly greater than emissions using pine shavings (15.2). Chamber N balances, or percent difference between the inputs feed N and bedding N, and the outputs manure N, body weight N, and ammonia N were 105, 90, and 89% for the winter, summer, and fall trials, respectively. Relatively high chamber N balances and favorable comparisons of study data with published values of ammonia emissions, feed N intake, and manure N excretion provided confidence in the accuracy of the study results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jan 2008


  • DM, dry matter
  • ExN, excreted N
  • UN, urinary N
  • TAN, total ammonical N in manure
  • TN, total N contained in feed, bedding, or manure
  • CNB, chamber N balance


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