Scientific Evidence Indicates that Reducing NOx Emissions is the Most Effective Strategy to Reduce Concentrations of Ammonium Nitrate, a Significant Contributor to PM2.5 Concentrations in California’s San Joaquin Valley

Recently there has been increased interest in regulating ammonia emissions to reduce PM2.5 (“fine” particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometers)  concentrations.  However, understanding the quantity of and interactions between ammonia and nitrogen oxide (NOx) is necessary in determining whether controlling ammonia is an effective strategy for reducing PM2.5 in a particular region.  Research from the California Regional Particulate Air Quality Study and other studies has demonstrated the relative abundance of ammonia in comparison to the limited concentrations of the other key precursor, nitric acid formed by NOx emissions.  As a result, NOx acts as the primary limiting precursor for the formation of secondary ammonium nitrate in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV).  Modeling based on data from these studies also found that controlling NOx was the most effective strategy to reduce ammonium nitrate particulate in the SJV and controlling ammonia had little effect on PM2.5 concentrations. 

In summary and as explained in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District 2012 PM2.5 Plan, the best scientific information available indicates that controlling NOx emissions is the most effective strategy to reduce secondary ammonium nitrate in the SJV.  While it has been demonstrated that controlling ammonia will not significantly reduce PM2.5 concentrations in the SJV, the District has adopted stringent regulations that have significantly reduced ammonia emissions.

Purpose

The San Joaquin Valley is primarily a rural region with large areas dedicated to agriculture. Recently there has been increased interest in regulating ammonia emissions from agricultural operations and other sources as a means to reduce PM2.5 concentrations. However, understanding the quantity and interactions between ammonia and NOx are necessary in determining whether controlling ammonia emissions is an effective strategy for reducing secondary PM2.5 formation in a particular geographic region.

average of peak day pm2.5 chemical composition

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) periodically reviews and establishes health-based air quality standards (often referred to as National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS) for ozone, particulate matter (PM), and other pollutants. Although the air quality in California’s San Joaquin Valley has been steadily improving, the region is currently classified as “serious” non-attainment for the 1997 and 2006 federal ambient air quality standards for PM2.5. The periods for which measured PM2.5 concentrations drive nonattainment of these standards occur primarily in the winter months and air quality research in the San Joaquin Valley has identified ammonium nitrate as the predominant contributor to secondary PM2.5 in the region. Ammonium nitrate particulate is formed through chemical reactions between ammonia in the air and NOx emissions produced by mobile and stationary combustion sources. As shown in Figure 1 above, ammonium nitrate is commonly the largest contributor to PM2.5 mass during the winter in the San Joaquin Valley.

What did we do?

modeled ammonium nitrate response to NH3 vs NOxAtmospheric modeling has demonstrated that controlling NOx is the most effective strategy to reduce ammonium nitrate concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley and controlling ammonia has little effect on these concentrations. The California Air Resources Board conducted multiple modeling runs to simulate the formation of PM2.5 in the San Joaquin Valley and compare the effect of reducing various pollutants on PM2.5 concentrations. As seen in Figure 2, U.S. EPA’s Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) indicated that reducing NOx by 50% reduced nitrate concentrations by 30% to 50% reductions, while reducing ammonia by 50% resulted in less than 5% reductions in nitrate concentrations. Similarly, the UCD/CIT photochemical transport model indicated that for the conditions on January 4-6, 1996 in the San Joaquin Valley, controlling NOx emissions is far more effective for reducing nitrate concentrations than controlling ammonia.

What have we learned?

abundance of NH3 in San Joaquin ValleyAmmonium nitrate particulate is limited by NOx in the San Joaquin Valley

Extensive research conducted through the California Regional Particulate Air Quality Study (CRPAQS) and other studies has demonstrated the relative abundance of ammonia in comparison to the limited concentrations of the other key precursor, nitric acid formed by NOx emissions in the San Joaquin Valley. As a result, NOx (via nitric acid) acts as the primary limiting precursor for the formation of secondary ammonium nitrate. (See Figures 3 and 4)

Future Plans

NOx control reduces ammonium nitrate more efficientlyAs explained in detail in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District 2012 PM2.5 Plan, the best scientific information available indicates that controlling NOx emissions is the most effective strategy to reduce secondary ammonium nitrate in the San Joaquin Valley. While ammonia has been demonstrated to not significantly contribute to PM2.5 concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley, the District has developed control strategies, via stringent regulations (Confined Animal Facilities – Rule 4570, Organic Material Composting – Rule 4566, Biosolids, Animal Manure, and Poultry Litter Operations – Rule 4565), that have resulted in significant reductions in ammonia emissions.

Authors

Errol Villegas, Program Manager, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District errol.villegas@valleyair.org

Ramon Norman, Air Quality Engineer, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

Additional information

California Air Resources Board Technical Symposium: Scientific Basis of Air Quality Modeling for the San Joaquin Valley 2012 PM2.5 Plan (April 27, 2012). Fresno, CA

Magliano, K. L. & Kaduwela, A. P. (2012) California Air Resources Board Technical Symposium: Technical Basis of the 2012 San Joaquin Valley PM2.5 Plan Modeling. Fresno, CA.

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District. 2012 PM2.5 Plan (2012), Chapter 4 – Scientific Foundation and PM2.5 Modeling Results

Chen, J.; Lu, J.; Avise, J. C.; DaMassa, J. A.; Kleeman, M. J. & Kaduwela, A. P. (2014), Seasonal modeling of PM2.5 in Californias San Joaquin Valley, Atmospheric Environment 92, p. 182-190.

Kleeman, Michael J., Qi Ying, Ajith Kaduwela (2005) Control Strategies for the Reduction of Airborne Particulate Nitrate in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Atmospheric Environment, 39 (29), p. 5325 – 5341

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Regulating Ammonia Emissions from Agriculture: Potential Pitfalls and Limitations

Currently, there is limited regulation of ammonia (NH3) emissions as a matter of federal policy.  The Clean Air Act (CAA) provides the federal authority for regulation of these emissions.  Although there are reporting requirements for NH3 under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, these statutes do not provide authority to regulate emissions of NH3.  There is increasing pressure to change NH3 policy primarily due to concerns about nutrient enrichment of large water bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, the EPA has been petitioned to list NH3 as a criteria pollutant; and this request is somewhat supported by the report from the EPA’s Integrated Nitrogen Panel to the Science Advisory Board. There is also the immediate concern of EPA’s treatment of NH3 as a precursor to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Regulation of NH3 as a precursor to PM2.5 will make it a regulated pollutant under the CAA. It will be difficult to regulate only the ‘excess’ portion of reactive N, particularly since ‘excess’ cannot be defined as a constant. Roughly 60- 85% of NH3 emissions in the U.S. are estimated to come from agricultural sources, a sector that varies considerably from the traditional industrial sources addressed by the environmental statutes.  In fact, in most of these statutes, there is recognition that agricultural sources are different; and some regulatory exemptions are provided. Most likely, Congress did not anticipate the application of the CAA to agricultural sources or it would have included some exemptions in it as well. Nevertheless, regulation of NH3 emissions under the CAA will make it extremely difficult for EPA to consider the positive value and need for fertilizer NH3, which could have huge implications for the viability of the domestic and global food supply. 

Purpose 

Members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) recognize the ever increasing pressure to change ammonia policy in the United States and to regulate sources of ammonia emissions under various environmental statutes including the Clean Air Act (CAA). Ammonia is not your ordinary air pollutant and will be difficult to regulate appropriately under the current construct of the CAA. Therefore, members of the AAQTF developed and approved a paper outlining information that regulators should consider before regulating ammonia emissions entitled, “Ammonia Emissions: What to Know Before You Regulate.”

What did we do? 

Consideration of NH3 as an air pollutant will require the EPA to acknowledge and address the role of NH3 in the full nitrogen (N) cycle and specifically address emission reduction measures that do not merely transfer NH3 from one environmental medium to another. It will be difficult to regulate only the “excess” portion of reactive N, particularly since “excess” cannot be defined as a constant. Regulation of NH3 emissions under the CAA will make it extremely difficult for EPA to consider the positive value and need for fertilizer NH3, which could have huge implications for the viability of the domestic and global food supply.

To date, pollutants regulated under the CAA are considered “bad” for public health and for the environment; and the statute is designed to limit the impacts of these pollutants by reducing or eliminating their emissions. As EPA moves to regulate greenhouse gases, it is encountering difficulty in applying the existing statute in its consideration of carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which is a necessary component of the life cycle of plants and animals. Regulation of NH3 emissions within the constraints of the existing CAA will prove no less daunting and may lead to costly and illogical outcomes with little actual benefit to the environment or human health.

Prior to regulating ammonia emissions, EPA regulators must fully understand ammonia’s role in agriculture. Not only must there be an understanding of the nitrogen cycle from a chemical perspective, but there must be a full understanding from a biological perspective as well. These biological processes cannot be easily predicted or controlled and are based on many factors such as geographic region, cropping system, management practices, soil characteristics, climate and field variability. In animal production systems, there must be an understanding of diets and nitrogen use efficiency of the various species and the impacts of the housing systems, manure characteristics and management, and climate variables.

The EPA regulators must also not only understand the fate, transport, and transformation of atmospheric ammonia but must be able to quantify these processes. Any regulation of agricultural sources of ammonia should be informed by knowledge of management practices that will reduce emissions without negatively impacting animal and plant health and production levels. Ammonia reduction strategies must be considered across the entire production spectrum and not on individual aspects of production.

Underlying any regulation must be accurate measurement of the emissions and the ability to measure compliance, i.e., reductions and impacts. However, ammonia emissions are fugitive, vary spatially and temporally, and are readily influenced by many factors (e.g., source, climate, management practices, etc.) making it difficult to determine at a farm level, a precise emission factor. There are currently no easy and economical ways to directly monitor emissions from commercial livestock and cropping farms, which will make emissions estimation and enforcement challenging. Proceeding to regulation without proven methodologies for measurement of agricultural sources of ammonia and the ability to demonstrate scientifically the effectiveness of reduction practices, does not seem appropriate.

Nitrogen is essential to both crop and animal production, and when not supplied in sufficient amounts, will decrease both crop yield and animal productivity, risk declining soil system health and sustainability, and generate a loss for producers and perhaps even increase the overall environmental footprint of agricultural activities. Certain management or mitigation practices may be too costly for many producers given the current market value of agricultural commodities, so any regulation must considered how these costs will be covered.

What have we learned? 

A collaborative dialogue with the agricultural community needs to occur prior to considering regulation. Current approaches of voluntary and incentive-based efforts are accomplishing significant improvements in soil health and reducing erosion and loss of nutrients, and agencies should recognize these improvements.

EPA can assist constructive dialog by avoiding regulatory silos and embracing holistic approaches in development of policies as it focuses on the agricultural sector; avoiding “One size fits all” style requirements; and avoiding multiple regulations on the same practice.

Farmers of the U.S. and the world must meet the food, fiber, and fuel needs of the predicted nine billion people by 2050. Therefore, any regulation of ammonia under the Clean Air Act must address its impact on the sustainability of domestic and global food supply as part of the mandatory statutory requirement to evaluate public health and welfare effects and the vitality of rural communities.

Future Plans 

The AAQTF will continue to address these issues and attempt to facilitate future dialogue with EPA and USDA on these issues.

Authors

Sally Shaver, President, Shaver Consulting, Inc. slshaver50@aol.com

Dr. April Leytem, USDA-ARS, NW Irrigation and Soils Lab, Kimberly, ID

Dr. Robert Burns, Assistant Dean for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Community Economic Development, University of Tennessee Extension, Knoxville

Dr. Hongwei Xin, Director of Egg Industry Center, Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Animal Sciences, Iowa State University

Dr. Lingjuan Wang-Li, Associate Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, North Carolina State University

Lara Moody, Director of Stewardship Program, The Fertilizer Institute

Dr. Nicole Embertson, Resource Coordinator – Sustainable Livestock Production Program, Whatcom Conservation District, Lynden, WA

Dr. Eileen Fabian-Wheeler, Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University.

Additional information 

The paper, Ammonia Emissions: What to Know Before You Regulate, is located on the USDA website

Acknowledgements

The contributions of members of the AAQTF to the discussions of these issues and to the development of the paper are recognized and greatly appreciated.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Case Study: A Solid-Liquid Manure Separation Swine Operation for Resource Conservation


*Why Examine Solid – Liquid Manure Separation at Pig Farms?

v-shape pit with automated manure scraper and trough

V-shape pit with automated manure scraper and trough

Many US pork production operations have become large in size and more geographically concentrated, and use very similar production facilities and manure management. With the potential extreme climates and diminishing water and land base, the industry needs to further improve the production systems and conservation effort. A Missouri swine finishing barn was designed to separate manure into solid and liquid portions, reduce odor and air emissions, and provide options for nutrient and water management. There is potential to reduce overall water use, and more importantly, to more efficiently export nutrients from the farm, or conserving nutrients in either the solid or liquid portions using additional practices.

What did we do?

Gravity draining of liquid manure

Gravity draining of liquid manure

The solid/liquid separation barn has a capacity of 1200-hd. Manure management consists of a V-shaped gutter with mechanical scrapers installed beneath slatted floor, and a central pipe that collects the liquid manure fraction. The scraped manure is mechanically conveyed out to a nearby storage shed. Liquid manure portion is gravity drained into a temporary sump pit, and pumped into a nearby anaerobic lagoon automatically. Four monthly solid portion and liquid portion samples were collected and analyzed for moisture content, total nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, pH, total carbon, and volatile solid content. The collected samples were kept on ice during transport and then frozen until analyzed by the University of Missouri Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide concentrations of the exhaust air streams were also measured using gas detection tubes during three of the four sampling events.

What have we learned?

 

storage shed for solid manure

Storage shed for solid manure

The solid manure portions have relatively low moisture content (MC, 57.9% to 63.4%, averaged 60.7%), and the liquid portion still have considerable amount of solids (MC = 93.3% to 98.3%, averaged 96.1%). The average nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium were 1.72%, 0.65%, 0.75% for the solid manure samples, and were 0.40%, 0.10%, and 0.29% for the liquid manure samples, respectively.

Ammonia concentration of the center exhaust fans averaged 7.7, 7.0, and 1.8 ppm for the February (n=3), March (n=2), and May (n=2) sampling visits respectively, and only one room fan was operating during the March visit, which measured 5.0 ppm (n=1). For all the sampling visits, hydrogen sulfide never reached the minimum detection limit of 0.5 ppm.

stored solid manure

Stored solid manure

The new facility design and reported findings have the potential to be adapted by new and existing production facilities, to develop new business models and management that are more flexible in nutrient management, and to improve resource conservation and reduce pollutions. It has been noted that the liquid stream can have relatively low solids from the well maintained scraper systems. If the farm continues to use the lagoon, there will be significantly less solid to be agitated and pumped. Assuming the untreated manure has a solid content of 6%, and the solid contents of the separated liquid and solid portions average about 3% and 39% respectively, the estimated contents in the solid manure are 28% and 47% of the total nitrogen and phosphorus in untreated manure, respectively. This is promising for exporting nutrients from the farm, or conserving nutrients in either the solid or liquid portions using additional practices.

 

Future Plans

More research is needed to systematically analyze the costs and management of the facilities, implications of water/nutrient conservations, potential byproduct production, and long-term sustainability improvement. The immediate next steps are to characterize the liquid and solid manure portions (in terms of volume and nutrient values) and barn air quality and emissions during different seasons. Effort should also include identification of the minimal and different levels of pre-treatment and reverse osmosis onto the liquid manure, for potential fertilizer concentrate, improved manure management, and potential water recycling. The long-term goals are to improve such solid/liquid separation barn, to provide partial manure treatment and water recycling potential that can be tailored for different cases and production sites.

Authors

Teng Lim, Associate Professor, University of Missouri limt@missouri.edu

Joseph M. Zulovich, University of Missouri.

Additional information

The collaboration of the farm owner and managers are greatly appreciated.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Making Sense of Smells – Communicating Odors to Diverse Audiences

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Example of odor visualization system using colors and shapes to replace chemical jargon.

Why Is Smell and Odor Important to Animal Agriculture?

Smell is perhaps the least understood of our five senses.  Yet, the human perception of odor may mean the difference between war and peace for a livestock farmer and his neighbors.  Because the science of  smells is complex, there is a tendency to run straight for the organic chemistry book when we try to describe farmstead odors.  This approach goes right over the heads of most people.  There must be a better way to communicate odors to diverse audiences.  This workshop can be utilized by teachers or extension staff to teach about communication of a topic that is frequently encountered by farmers, ag professionals, and others. To see the presentation slides, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Learning Objectives

This two hour workshop will explain how to use an innovative visual technique to describe farmstead odors to general audiences without resorting to chemical jargon.  The visualization technique based on shapes and colors was developed at Oklahoma State University in the mid 1990s, and has been used to talk about odors with many diverse audiences.  The method demonstrates that odors have “structure”, and can be measured using the four concepts: character, concentration, intensity, and persistence.

Students will also participate in a mock laboratory exercise to demonstrate how odor intensity and pleasantness are measured.  Results of the exercise will be analyzed in “real time”.  Further analyses of previous exercise runs will be compared and contrasted to the workshop results.  This laboratory has been presented to over 250 college freshmen and their results are presented in this recording.

Workshop Introduction

What is an Odor?

Measuring Odors

Odor Experiment

Another Odor Experiment

Physiology of Smell

Author

Douglas W. Hamilton, Associate Professor and Extension Waste Management Specialist, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service dhamilt@okstate.edu

Doug Hamilton is an associate professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University.  He has three degrees in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Penn State University.  His sense of smell remains keen despite the fact he has worked with livestock manure for nearly 34 years.

For More Information

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Pesticide Application Air Quality Emissions Inventory Project

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Abstract

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires states to submit to them air quality emission inventories for all types of sources every three years. In 2012, the Central States Air Resource Agencies Association (CenSARA) and its contractor, TranSystems Corporation (TranSystems), developed a 2011 agricultural pesticide emissions inventory for the association’s member states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

Crops grown in this region total more than 140 million acres and are routinely treated with pesticide products, such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.  Row crops, such as corn, soybeans, and sorghum and non-row crops, such as fruit orchards, were included in the work.  Hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and/or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are in pesticide ingredients; VOCs being a main contributor to ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog.  In this work, 458 active ingredient-specific VOC emission factors were developed, based primarily on empirically derived pesticide chemical data maintained by the California Department of Pesticide Regulations; county level active ingredient throughputs were derived from the best available information.

An emissions calculation tool was developed to produce emissions, following a linear crop to acreage relationship as the default. Participating states can use the tool to input local practices such as the selection of crops and/or the choice of pesticide products, as well as the extent and amount of applications. The work also included a survey to try to understand the timeframes pesticides are applied to various crops. These parameters can significantly alter the default linear relationship.  The final product provided the individual states with 2011 emission estimates and a methodology to account for better data when obtained, which can result in a more accurate emission inventory for this source category.

Authors

Theresa Pella, Central States Air Resource Agencies Association tpella@censara.org

Juan A. Maldonado, TranSystems Corporation, jamaldonado@transystems.com, Dr. Chun Yi Wu, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency chun.yi.wu@state.mn.us

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Photometric measurement of ground-level fugitive dust emissions from open-lot animal feeding operations.

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Abstract

Fugitive dust from confined livestock operations is a primary air quality issue associated with impaired visibility, nuisance odor, and other quality-of-life factors.  Particulate matter has conventionally been measured using costly scientific instruments such as transmissometers, nephelometers, or tapered-element, oscillating microbalances (TEOMs).  The use of digital imaging and automated data-acquisition systems has become a standard practice in some locations to track visibility conditions on roadways; however, the concept of using photometry to measure fugitive dust concentrations near confined livestock operations is relatively new.  We have developed a photometric method to estimate path-averaged particulate matter (PM10) concentrations using digital SLR cameras and high-contrast visibility targets.  Digital imaging, followed by automated image processing and interpretation, would be a plausible, cost-effective alternative for operators of confined livestock facilities to monitor on-site dust concentrations.  We report on the development and ongoing evaluation of such a method for use by cattle feeders and open-lot dairy producers.

Purpose

To develop a low-cost practical alternative for measurement of path-averaged particulate matter (PM10) concentrations downwind of open-lot animal feeding operations.

What Did We Do?

Working downwind of a cattle feedyard under a variety of dust conditions, we photographed an array of high contrast visibility targets with dSLR cameras and compared contrast data extracted from the photographs with path-averaged particulate matter (PM10) concentration data collected from several TEOMs codeployed alonside the visibility targets.

What Have We Learned?

We have developed a photometric method to estimate path-averaged particulate matter (PM10) concentrations using digital SLR cameras and high-contrast visibility targets.  Using contrast data from digital images we expect to predict PM10 concentrations within 20% of TEOM values under the dustiest conditions.  Digital imaging, followed by automated image processing and interpretation, may be a plausible, cost-effective alternative for operators of open-lot livestock facilities to monitor on-site dust concentrations and evaluate the abatement measures and management practices they put in place.

Future Plans

We intend to improve the prediction accuracy of the photometric method and automate it such that it can be easily adapted for use as a cost-effective alternative for measuring path-averaged particulate matter (PM10) concentrations at cattle feedyards and open-lot dairies.

Authors

Brent Auvermann, Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.  b-auvermann@tamu.edu

Sharon Preece, Senior Research Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Brent W. Auvermann, Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Taek M. Kwon, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Gary W. Marek, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; Kevin Heflin, Extension Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; K. Jack Bush, Research Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Additional Information

Please contact Brent W. Auvermann, Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, 6500 Amarillo Boulevard West, Amarillo TX, 79106, Phone: 806-677-5600, Email: b-auvermann@tamu.edu.

Acknowledgements

This research was underwritten by grants from the USDA National Institute on Food and Agriculture (contract nos. 2010-34466-20739 and 2009-55112-05235).

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

The National Air Quality Site-Assessment Tool (NAQSAT)

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Abstract

The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) has been developed for the voluntary use of livestock producers and their advisors or consultants. It is intended to provide assistance to livestock and poultry producers in determining the areas in their operations where there are opportunities to make changes that result in reduced air emissions. Air emissions research from livestock production systems is increasing every year. NAQSAT is based on the most accurate, credible data currently available regarding mitigation strategies for air emissions of ammonia, methane, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide, particulates, and odor.

From the NAQSAT home page users may watch a video explaining the tool, read an overview, study the user manual or select a species to start using the program.

Purpose

The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) was developed for livestock producers who are interested in investigating opportunities to reduce air emissions from their livestock operation. The online tool is designed to provide farmers and their advisors air emissions information explicitly for their farm in a confidential setting. The tool may be run from any computer with internet access. All information entered into NAQSAT and the corresponding results remain confidential.

What Did We Do?

NAQSAT considers the air emissions from eight management categories; animal housing, feed and water, manure collection and transfer, manure storage, land application, mortality management, public perception and on-farm roads.

On the NAQSAT Effectiveness Results page the green area indicates the effectiveness of current management practices, the white area indicates the opportunity for improvement. At the end of each session users are encouraged to select “Print My Report” to receive a paper copy of all inputs that had been entered and a copy of the Effectiveness Results page for their records. 

Users of the tool are asked a series of questions under each of the eight management categories. Based on the responses to previously answered questions the program determines what additional questions need to be answered such that only questions pertaining to the operation currently being evaluated are asked. Pop-up pictures assist the user in determining the relative rating to select when questions require a visual evaluation of the existing practices.

NAQSAT addresses seven emissions of concern; odor, particulate matter (dust), ammonia (NH3), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methane (CH4), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxide (N2O) under each of the eight management categories. Within the results page the green area in each rectangle indicates the effectiveness of current management practices, the white area indicates the opportunity for improvement.

NAQSAT allows users to save and run different scenarios providing the opportunity to compare the results of implementing new management practices.

It is easy to save NAQSAT sessions and return at a later date to make adjustments or consider additional alternatives. Each “saved” user session of NAQSAT is stored under its own URL available only to the person or persons with access to that URL. Individual URLs remain available for a minimum of 30 days before they are removed from the host computer.

The tool’s results page does not provide emissions data and/or regulatory guidance. It does identify opportunities for reducing air emissions and the ability to evaluate which practices might have the most impact. NAQSAT was developed for voluntary and educational use. The tool is designed to be used by livestock and poultry producers, however, the results may be more valuable when NAQSAT is used in cooperation with agency personnel or private consultants that can provide follow-up with suggestions for mitigation practices.

What Have We Learned?

NAQSAT has been used by members of the tool’s development committee to address odor conflicts in Colorado and in Michigan. In each case the tool confirmed the farm management teams were using acceptable management practices to limit odors from the livestock operation. In both states the local and state agencies involved in the conflict resolution were appreciative of the information provided by the tool.

Authors

Gerald May, Educator, Michigan State University Extension, mayg@msu.edu

Additional Information

The NAQSAT on-line tool is currently available at: http://naqsat.tamu.edu/.  It is available at no cost from its host website (it does not download onto your computer). To assist first time users an overview of the tool, an informative video and a user’s manual are available on the NAQSAT home page.

Archived webinars:

Acknowledgements

Are there any organizations or individuals (besides the authors) that should be acknowledged?

Development of NAQSAT was partially funded by the USDA – NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant program. Over twenty partner organizations and universities contributed to the development of NAQSAT.

Partner universities:  Partner organizations:
Colorado State University C.E. Meadows Endowment
Iowa State University Colorado Livestock Association
Michigan State University Iowa Turkey Federation
Oregon State University Iowa Pork Producers
Penn State University Iowa Pork Industry Center
Purdue University Iowa State Univ. Experiment Station
Texas A&M University Michigan Milk Producers Association
University of California, Davis Michigan Pork Producers Association
University of Georgia Michigan State Univ. Extension
University of Maryland National Pork Board
University of Minnesota Nebraska Environmental Trust
University of Nebraska Western United Dairymen

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Livestock GRACEnet

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Abstract

Livestock GRACEnet is a United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service working group focused on atmospheric emissions from livestock production in the USA. The working group presently has 24 scientists from 13 locations covering the major animal production systems in the USA (dairy, beef, swine, and poultry). The mission of Livestock GRACEnet is to lead the development of management practices that reduce greenhouse gas, ammonia, and other emissions and provide a sound scientific basis for accurate measurement and modeling of emissions from livestock agriculture. The working group fosters collaboration among fellow scientists and stakeholders to identify and develop appropriate management practices; supports the needs of policy makers and regulators for consistent, accurate data and information; fosters scientific transparency and rigor and transfers new knowledge efficiently to stakeholders and the scientific community.  Success in the group’s mission will help ensure the economic viability of the livestock industry, improve vitality and quality of life in rural areas, and provide beneficial environmental services. Some of the research highlights of the group are provided as examples of current work within Livestock GRACEnet. These include efforts aimed at improving emissions inventories, developing mitigation strategies, improving process-based models for estimating emissions, and producing fact sheets to inform producers about successful management practices that can be put to use now.

Why Was GRACEnet Created?

The mission of Livestock GRACEnet is to lead the development of livestock management practices to reduce greenhouse gas, ammonia, and other emissions and to provide a sound scientific basis for accurate measurement and modeling of emissions.

What Did We Do?

The Livestock GRACEnet group is comprised of 24 scientists from 13 USDA-ARS locations researching the effects of livestock production on emissions and air quality.

Our goals are to:

  • Collaborate with fellow scientists and stakeholders to identify and develop appropriate management practices
  • Support the needs of policy makers and regulators for consistent, accurate data and information
  • Foster scientific transparency and rigor
  • Transfer new knowledge efficiently to stakeholders and the scientific community

Success in our mission will help to ensure the economic viability of the livestock industry, vitality and quality of life in rural areas, and provide environmental services benefits.

Authors

April Leytem, Research Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS april.leytem@ars.usda.gov

Additional Information

https://www.ars.usda.gov/anrds/gracenet/livestock-gracenet/

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Feed Management Planners Certification Program to Reduce Nutrient Loads in Impaired Watersheds

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Why Develop a Feed Management Certification Program?

To develop a program to train ARPAS-certified (American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists) dairy and beef nutritionists on how to prepare and evaluate Feed Management plans as it relates to the NRCS Feed Management (592) practice in Pennsylvania. The objective is to compare how formulated diets match to the consumed diets. Phosphorus is monitored through manure testing and nitrogen by milk urea nitrogen and calculating milk nitrogen efficiency. Dry matter intake efficiency is also monitored as this can affect the total manure volume excreted.

What Did We Do?

In 2007, Mid-Atlantic Water Program (MAWP) scientists applied the national feed management program to meet the needs of dairy consultants to implement feed management in the Chesapeake Basin. This program certifies consultants in precision feed management, a practice that reduces nutrient loads in animal wastes by minimizing the phosphorus and nitrogen content in the feed. 

With the recent release of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for the Chesapeake Bay, the agricultural community is looking for the best practices to control nutrient pollution while minimizing impacts to profit. Over the years, the work of this project team has established precision feed management as both an economically and environmentally viable best management practice.  As such, state watershed implementation plans include precision feed management as a method to meet load allocations.

Pennsylvania currently has twenty-four NRCS qualified nutritionists to write feed management plans. In 2011, fifty-one operations received EQIP or CBWI funding through USDA-NRCS for feed management, with the majority consisting of dairy farms.  An additional 10 farms entered into contracts with NRCS in 2012.  Farms are currently in the process of being assessed on how well they implemented recommendations from the first year of quarterly reports and are working through their second year of implementation.

Additional efforts have been implemented to educate consultants about the regulations and issues affecting dairy producers. Currently, the Pennsylvania team is working with producers to monitor income over feed costs and to develop cash flow plans, which provides the opportunity to implement precision feeding practices while monitoring the economic benefits to the herd.  A study of six component fed dairy herds in Pennsylvania is also being completed to evaluate the effects of the feed, forage, and manure sampling protocols along with feeding order on fecal phosphorus levels and to update current sampling recommendations.

Funding from the MAWP was critical to providing these trainings and projects and establishing precision feed management as a best management practice that farmers can realistically utilize.  The infrastructure is in place to address the demand for more feed management plans and the MAWP will continue to meet the educational needs of this audience.

What Have We Learned?

There are a lot of opportunities on farms to improve feed management and nutrient balance. Challenges have been observed pertaining to nutrient reduction strategies that could impact overall nutrient balances in dairy and beef rations. Many of these challenges are greatly influenced by the volatility in today’s commodity pricing. Producers need to become more engaged in what they are feeding and how it affects their profitability.  It has been observed that inorganic phosphorus is still being used in grain mixtures when rations contain high phosphorus forages or inclusion of byproduct feeds. We have also observed some challenges in obtaining test analyses for complete grain and mineral mixes on a regular basis.  More education is needed for both industry professionals as well as producers.

Future Plans

As the feed management program in Pennsylvania progresses, pounds of phosphorus excreted can be tracked to monitor the effects of reducing phosphorus in dairy and beef rations. This can be used to evaluate its effect on water quality and potential phosphorus accumulations in the soil when manure is applied to crops at nitrogen-based rates. Crop rotations, inclusion of alternative forages and whole farm nutrient balance will be included in future trainings and feed management plans. The Penn State Extension Dairy team is also working on the development of a Feed Management mobile app for producers and nutritionist to be able to track and monitor their progress on nutrient reductions in their rations.

Authors

Daniel Ludwig, Natural Resources Specialist, USDA – NRCS, dan.ludwig@pa.usda.gov

Virginia Ishler, Dairy Complex Manager/Nutrient Specialist, Penn State University

Rebecca White, Program Manager-Penn State Extension Dairy Team

Additional Information

Feed Management for Producers

Pennsylvania NRCS on Feed Management

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Model of a Successful Regulatory-Industry Partnership to Address Air Emissions from Dairy Operations in Yakima, WA

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Why Is It Important for Industry and Regulators to Work Together?

The community in the Yakima Region of Washington State has raised concerns over the potential adverse effects of air emissions from dairy operations. To address these concerns, the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) proposed a policy process in October 2010 to control and mitigate emissions through implementation of site-specific best management practices (BMPs) on dairy operations. Absent a lack of reliable methodologies for estimating emissions from dairies, the YRCAA enrolled experts and scientists to help create tools that could be used for estimation of emissions from dairy operations. The assessment of BMPs aimed at mitigating air emissions from dairies was also included to determine their effect on the character, amount, and dispersion of specific air pollutants. This project assessed the effect of voluntary verses policy driven action on the dairy industry, community, and environmental impacts of air emissions from dairy operations.

What Did We Do?

The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) proposed a draft policy in October 2010 to control and mitigate emissions through implementation of site-specific best management practices (BMPs) on dairy operations. To validate the policy, a “Pilot Research Project” was launched in February 2011 to gather information for one year to test the feasibility of implementing and determining policy effectiveness. Twelve operations, representing ~40% of the estimated regional cow numbers, volunteered to participate.

A description of proven BMPs and a BMP selection-guide were created to help producers develop site-specific Air Quality Management Plans (AQMP). Each AQMP identified, systematically, specific BMPs to mitigate emissions from each area of the dairy system (nutrition, feed management, milk parlor, housing-drylot, housing-freestall, grazing, manure management, land application, other) based on effectiveness, practicality and economics. The pollutants addressed in each AQMP included ammonia, nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, odor, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and methane. A universal score-sheet was created to assess implementation of BMPs at each dairy. The YRCAA inspectors were trained to evaluate, score, and record BMP implementation. A whole-farm score was generated during each visit, which identified areas of improvement to be addressed.

The process was very unique in that the dairy industry took a proactive role and actively participated. Using science and air quality experts to create and validate the evaluation tools and process also brought authority to the process. The policy was revised based on information collected from the pilot project and was adopted in February 2012. To date, 22 operations, representing 57% of total cow numbers in the Yakima Region, are enrolled.

What Have We Learned?

The voluntary approach used during the pilot project phase of the policy was very effective in enrolling the dairy community. Producers stepped up to volunteer and cooperatively participate in an unknown process. Even though they were very robust and integrated a large amount of scientific information, the emission assessment tools created as an outcome of the pilot project were very user friendly and easy to interpret by planners and producers. The air quality BMP assessment tool is currently being evaluated for use by other agencies and institutions.

Future Plans

The YRCAA has entered into phase two of the policy process and are now mandating that dairies participate in the air quality assessment. Starting in March 2013, all dairy operations in the Yakima basin will be either voluntarily or mandatorily inspected and assessed for air quality improvements. This provides an opportunity to compare voluntary and mandatory policy processes. The long-term impact of the process is yet unknown.

Authors

Nichole M. Embertson, Ph.D., Nutrient Management Specialist, Whatcom Conservation District, Lynden, WA, nembertson@whatcomcd.org

Gary Pruitt, Executive Director, Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency Air, Yakima, WA

Hasan Tahat, Engineering and Planning Supervisor, Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency Air, Yakima, WA

Pius Ndegwa, Biological and Systems Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Additional Information

https://www.yakimacleanair.org/site/files/file_manager/page/shared/Resource%20Guide%20for%20BMP%20for%20Dairy%20Oparation%20Aug18.pdf

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2013. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Denver, CO. April 1-5, 2013. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.