Optimizing Nitrogen Management in Food and Energy Production and Environmental Protection: 2nd International Nitrogen Conference 2001View this Special Issue
Research Article | Open Access
Prevention and Control of Losses of Gaseous Nitrogen Compounds in Livestock Operations: A Review
Nitrogen (N) losses from livestock houses and manure storage facilities contribute greatly to the total loss of N from livestock farms. Volatilisation of ammonia (NH3) is the major process responsible for the loss of N in husbandry systems with slurry (where average dry matter content varies between 3 and 13%). Concerning this volatilisation of NH3, the process parameters of pH and air temperature are crucial. During a period of approximately 10 years, systematic measurements of NH3 losses originating from a large variety of different livestock houses were made. One of the problems with NH3 emissions is the large variation in the measured data due to the season, the production of the animals, the manure treatment, type of livestock house, and the manure storage. Generally speaking, prevention and control of NH3 emission can be done by control of N content in the manure, moisture content, pH, and temperature. In houses for growing pigs, a combination of simple housing measures can be taken to greatly reduce NH33 emissions. In houses for laying hens, the control of the manure drying process determines the emission of NH3. Monteny has built an NH3 production model with separate modules for the emission of the manure storage under the dairy house and the floor in the house. Manure spreading is also a major source of NH3 emission and is dependent on slurry composition, environmental conditions, and farm management. The effects of these factors have been employed in a model. Losses via NO, N2O, and N2 are important in husbandry systems with solid manure and straw. The number of experimental data is, however, very limited. As N2O is an intermediate product of complex biochemical processes of nitrification and denitrification, optimal conditions are the key issues in N2O reduction strategies. We may expect that in the near future the emission of greenhouse gases will get the same attention from policy makers as NH3. Sustainable livestock production has to combine low emissions of gaseous N compounds with acceptable odour emissions, low emissions of greenhouse gases, and acceptable standards of animal welfare. For the entrepreneur, the strategy must be built on the regulations, the special conditions of his farm, and what is reasonably achievable.