A new cost-effective method to mitigate ammonia loss from intensive cattle feedlots: application of lignite
AuthorChen, D; Sun, J; Bai, M; Dassanayake, KB; Denmead, OT; Hill, J
Source TitleScientific Reports
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
University of Melbourne Author/sChen, Deli; Sun, Jianlei; Bai, Mei; Dassanayake, Kithsiri; DENMEAD, OWEN
AffiliationAgriculture and Food Systems
Resource Management and Geography
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsChen, D., Sun, J., Bai, M., Dassanayake, K. B., Denmead, O. T. & Hill, J. (2015). A new cost-effective method to mitigate ammonia loss from intensive cattle feedlots: application of lignite. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep16689.
Access StatusOpen Access
In open beef feedlot systems, more than 50% of dietary nitrogen (N) is lost as ammonia (NH3). Here we report an effective and economically-viable method to mitigate NH3 emissions by the application of lignite. We constructed two cattle pens (20 × 20 m) to determine the effectiveness of lignite in reducing NH3 emissions. Twenty-four steers were fed identical commercial rations in each pen. The treatment pen surface was dressed with 4.5 kg m(-2) lignite dry mass while no lignite was applied in the control pen. We measured volatilised NH3 concentrations using Ecotech EC9842 NH3 analysers in conjunction with a mass balance method to calculate NH3 fluxes. Application of lignite decreased NH3 loss from the pen by approximately 66%. The cumulative NH3 losses were 6.26 and 2.13 kg N head(-1) in the control and lignite treatment, respectively. In addition to the environmental benefits of reduced NH3 losses, the value of retained N nutrient in the lignite treated manure is more than $37 AUD head(-1) yr(-1), based on the current fertiliser cost and estimated cost of lignite application. We show that lignite application is a cost-effective method to reduce NH3 loss from cattle feedlots.
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