Ammonia Measurements and Emissions from a California Dairy Using Point and Remote Sensors

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Transactions of the ASABE

Publication Date



Ammonia (NH3) is an important trace gas species in the atmosphere that can have negative impacts on human, animal, and ecosystem health. Agriculture has been identified as the largest source of NH3, specifically livestock operations. NH3 emissions from a commercial dairy in California were investigated during June 2008. Cattle were held in open-lot pens, except for young calves in hutches with shelters. Solid manure was stored in the open-lot pens. Liquid manure from feed lanes was passed through a solids settling basin and stored in a holding pond. Passive sensors and open-path Fourier transform infrared spectrometers (OP-FTIR) were deployed around the facility to measure NH3 concentrations. Emissions from pens and the liquid manure system (LMS) were estimated using inverse modeling. Mean emission factors (EFs) for the entire facility were 140.5 ±42.5 g d-1 animal-1 from the passive sampler data and 199.2 ±22.0 g d-1 animal-1 from the OP-FTIR data, resulting in the facility’s summer emissions calculated at 265.2 ±80.2 kg d-1 and 375.4 ±27.1 kg d-1, respectively. These EFs are within the range of values reported in the literature. Both concentrations and emissions exhibited a strong diurnal cycle, peaking in the late afternoon. Total facility emissions exhibited significant positive correlations with temperature and wind speed. The findings of this study show that NH3 emissions from a commercial dairy can vary by a factor of 10 or more throughout the day, and EFs can vary by two orders of magnitude when compared to other U.S. dairies, based on literature values.

This document is currently not available here.