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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Assessing Atmospheric Emissions from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the Pacific Northwest

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Project Number: 5368-63000-001-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 03, 2010
End Date: Jun 02, 2015

Objective:
This project addresses atmospheric emissions of trace gases from concentrated dairy operations & manure management systems. The goal is to develop emissions factors which will allow decision makers to evaluate the contribution of these constituents from dairy production with other agricultural and industrial sectors and assist in long-term planning efforts aimed at improving air quality and reducing emissions. Additionally, this project examines emissions of bioaerosols from dairy production facilities as well as airborne transport of pathogens during the reuse of dairy wastewater for crop irrigation. This information will be used to determine the potential for off site transport of bioaerosols and pathogens from dairy production, which is a community concern. The specific objectives and goals of the project are below. Objective 1. Determine emission rates of gases and bioaerosols from dairy operations. Goal 1.1. Estimate on-farm emissions of ammonia, methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide from dairy production facilities to determine emission factors that account for diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in emissions. Goal 1.2. Compare gas monitoring equipment effects on estimates of ammonia & methane emissions. Goal 1.3. Develop on-farm emissions factors for ammonia, methane, and nitrous oxide from dairy wastewater storage ponds based on wastewater characteristics, management practices, and climatic conditions. Goal 1.4. Measure airborne concentrations of culturable bacteria, virus, and filamentous fungi and endotoxins downwind from a concentrated dairy operation to assess diurnal and seasonal variations. Objective 2. Utilize fecal contamination indicators to assess the downwind transport of pathogens in dairy wastewaters delivered via sprinkler irrigation systems. Goal 2.1. Assess the transport of aerosolized bacterial and viral pathogens generated during the land application of dairy wastewaters using sprinkler irrigation systems. Objective 3. Improve dairy industry production capacity and environmental sustainability to meet the demands of existing and emerging markets, and improve dairy industry resilience to abiotic and biotic stressors while maintaining producer economic viability. Using a comprehensive, systems approach along with existing/new databases and models to identify opportunities and support Livestock GRACEnet, LTAR and Climate Hub efforts to improve the environmental performance of dairy systems across the Northeast, Midwest, and West. The following research focus areas will be prioritized: a)Improve nutrient use efficiency across dairy production, emphasizing the conservation of nitrogen and phosphorus in local and regional crop production and reduction of off-farm nitrogen and phosphorus losses, especially through novel/greater use of forage crops and innovative practices. b)Improve carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cattle, production facilities and land application of manure. c)Improve the understanding of pathogen transport and control through water and/or bioaerosol pathways.

Approach:
A year long study will determine the emissions of ammonia, methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide from the barns and wastewater storage pond of a large freestall dairy. Additionally, bioaerosol transport from the barns to downwind locations will be assessed. The emissions of ammonia, methane, and nitrous oxide from dairy liquid storage ponds will also be assessed in order to determine the factors affecting these emissions and develop better methods for predicting emissions from these systems. An assessment of the transport of pathogens from sprinkler irrigation of dairy wastewater will also be undertaken to determine the risk of pathogen drift to human receptors and potential health risks. A better understanding of the type and amount of constituents released into the air from animal production and manure storage areas are expected results. This information will allow us to develop emissions factors and assess the risk of pathogen drift from these systems.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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