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Atmosphere 2011, 2(4), 655-670; doi:10.3390/atmos2040655

Influence of Reduced Nitrogen Diets on Ammonia Emissions from Cattle Feedlot Pens

2,* , 3
Received: 19 September 2011 / Revised: 10 October 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 11 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Emissions from Agricultural Practices)
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Reducing crude protein (CP) in livestock diets may lower ammonia emissions. A feeding trial was conducted with crossbred steers at the Southeast Colorado Research Center in Lamar, Colorado from December 2009 to March 2010. Three diet treatments were investigated: Reduced (11.6% CP), Oscillating (13.5% crude protein 4 days/week and 11.6% CP 3 days/week) and Control (13.5% CP). Intact soil core samples (n = 36 per sampling date) were collected from the pen surfaces on three dates corresponding to 45, 92, and 148 days into the feeding cycle. Four pens from each diet treatment were sampled. Cores were placed into flow-through laboratory chambers for seven days and ammonia fluxes were trapped in acid bubblers that were refreshed every 24 h. Average daily ammonia emissions for the Control diet ranged from 6.6 to 9.4 g NH3 m−2·day−1; average daily emission for the Oscillating diet ranged from 6.3 to 8.8 g NH3 m−2·day−1; and average daily flux for the Reduced diet ranged from 4.1 to 5.8 g NH3 m−2·day−1. Ammonia fluxes from the reduced N treatment were significantly lower (21% to 40%) than from the control diet on the first two sample dates. There was no significant difference between the Oscillating and Control treatments. Reducing CP in cattle feedlot diets may be an effective method for reducing ammonia emissions from pen surfaces. More research is needed to validate these results at commercial scales in different environments to determine if reductions in ammonia can be sustained with lower CP diets without affecting rate of gain, feed efficiency and health.
Keywords: livestock; nitrogen deposition; ammonia fluxes; beef feedlots livestock; nitrogen deposition; ammonia fluxes; beef feedlots
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Galles, K.; Ham, J.; Westover, E.; Stratton, J.; Wagner, J.; Engle, T.; Bryant, T.C. Influence of Reduced Nitrogen Diets on Ammonia Emissions from Cattle Feedlot Pens. Atmosphere 2011, 2, 655-670.

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