Whole Farm System Approach- Ammonia

What are the contributions of livestock production to atmospheric ammonia emissions?

About 51 percent of the ammonia emissions in the U.S. are attributed to livestock –roughly half of that from ruminants.

What are the environmental effects of ammonia emissions?

Ammonia emissions to the atmosphere from animal operations are a byproduct of the decay of waste. These emissions contribute to the acidification and eutrophication (algal blooms and oxygen depletion) in water, and to haze pollution in the air, which is linked to cardiovascular and respiratory disease in humans.

Where is ammonia lost on a farm?

Ammonia is “lost” (or emitted) at every step in the manure management process:

  • 8 to 20 percent of N excreted in the barn
  • 8 to 20 percent of N in stored manure
  • 10 to 30 percent of N applied to field
  • 10 percent of N during grazing

How can ammonia emissions be reduced?

Ammonia emissions can be reduced 55 to 75 percent by:

  • Precision feed management
  • Improved farm systems and management (i.e. daily manure hauling combined with grazing- and tie stall operations)
  • Liquid manure injection for field application
  • Slated barn floors that prevent combining of urine and manure
  • Covering manure storages nearly eliminates ammonia loss during storage

Contact Information

Alexander Nikolov Hristov
  • Professor of Dairy Nutrition
Phone: 814-863-3669