Measurement of Ammonia, Methane and Particulate Matter Emissions from a Dairy Barn

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Mali, Darius
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University of Guelph

The demand for meat and other animal products over the past couple decades has led to a changeover from small family operated farms, into large commercial facilities. The increase in animal density and population has created new issues related to waste management and pollution. Aerial pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, nitrous oxide and particulate matter, are all byproducts of agricultural processes. This study examines the concentrations, emission rates, and emission factors of ammonia, methane, and particulate matter that are emitted from a commercial dairy barn. The commercial dairy facility was located near New Hamburg in Ontario, Canada. It has the capacity to house 501 animals total, split between lactating cows, dry cows, heifers, bulls and calves. Lactating cows are confined in tie stalls while the rest of the herd used free stall pens. The barn is mechanically ventilated and uses a set of 14 fans with diameters of 1.22 m to ventilate the barn. Concentration data were measured over two sampling periods; the first took place in January – March 2013 and the second from May – July 2013. The pollutant concentrations, ventilation rates, and animal weights were used to generate emission factors based on an animal unit (AU – equivalent to 500 kg live mass) basis. The emission factors for ammonia, methane, PM10 and PM2.5 averaged over the two campaigns were 1.12 g hr-1 AU-1, 25.08 g hr-1 AU-1, 9.33 mg hr-1 AU-1 and 4.96 mg hr-1 AU-1, respectively and agree well with reported values in the literature. The time of year had an impact on the emission levels as all of the pollutants, except methane, were higher in the second sampling campaign compared to the first. A large increase was seen in the ammonia and particulate matter, while a more moderate change was seen in the methane. Peaks in ammonia emissions correlated well with feed times, and are highly influenced by animal activity. Methane emissions were dominated by the digestive process in the rumen, and have a lag period after feeding before the emissions spike. Although particulate matter increased, it was not correlated to a specific event in the barn.

Ammonia, Methane, Particulate Matter, Emissions, Air Quality, Dairy