Particulate matter from open lot dairies and cattle feeding: recent developments

The research community is making good progress in understanding the mechanical, biochemical, and atmospheric processes that are responsible for airborne emissions of particulate matter (PM, or dust) from open-lot livestock production, especially dairies and cattle feedyards.  Recent studies in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, California, and Australia have expanded the available data on both emission rates and abatement measures. Although the uncertainties associated with our estimates of fugitive emissions are still unacceptably high, we have learned from our recent experience with ammonia that using a wide variety of credible measurement techniques, rather than focusing on one so-called “standard” technique, may be the better way to improve confidence in our estimates.  Whereas the most promising control measures for gaseous emissions continue to be dietary strategies  with management of corral-surface moisture a close second for particulate matter, corral-surface management and moisture management play comparable roles, depending on the mechanical strength of soils and the availability of water, respectively.  The cost per unit reduction of emitted mass attributable to these abatement measures varies as widely as the emissions estimates themselves, so we need to intensify our emphasis on process-based emissions research to (a) reduce the variances in our emissions estimates and (b) mitigate the contingency of prior, empirically based estimates.  As a general rule, although cattle feedyard emission factors may be thought a reasonable starting point for estimating emissions from open-lot dairies, such estimates should be viewed with suspicion.

Purpose          

Document the state of the art of particulate-matter (PM) emissions from open-lot livestock facilities, including emission fluxes and abatement measures.

What did we do?

We conducted (a) field research at commercial, open-lot livestock facilities in the southern High Plains and (b) an up-to-date review of the latest literature concerning primary particulate matter emission fluxes and the abatement measures appropriate to the source type. Field research included time-resolved concentration measurements upwind and downwind of the livestock facilities during the hottest, driest times of the year (in the case of dairy emissions) and throughout the year (in the case of beef feedyards); and a 5-month evaluation of stocking density manipulation using electric cross-fences that preserve optimum bunk space for beef cattle on feed. The literature review surveyed research findings from anywhere in the world that were published in refereed journals as recently as March 2015 concerning the same topics.

What have we learned?

Increasing the stocking density of fed beef cattle as compared to the industry-wide average during hot, dry weather suppresses dust emissions to a measurable and reasonably consistent degree. Concentrations of PM measured downwind of open-lot dairies vary throughout the day, though to a lesser degree and at lower overall concentrations than those measured downwind of nearby beef cattle feedyards, likely reflecting (a) the comparatively lower intensity of the dairy animal’s physical activity and (b) the greater diurnal uniformity of animal-activity patterns in dairies as compared to those in cattle feedyards. Stocking density manipulation does not appear likely to influence dairy dust emissions to the same degree as it influences feedyard dust emissions. Our confidence in emission-flux estimates from these open-lot systems suffers from a lack of methodological diversity; that confidence would be greatly bolstered by the deployment of measurement techniques that differ from the standard inverse-dispersion-modeling paradigm. The integrated horizontal flux (IHF) approach to emissions estimation, which we are now testing at a cattle feedyard in the Texas Panhandle, will provide some corroborating evidence that will allow us to narrow the range of PM flux estimates in the research literature, a range that now spans more than an order of magnitude when expressed on a per-animal-unit basis.

Future Plans

We will continue long-term, ground-level monitoring of time-resolved PM concentrations at a commercial cattle feedyard in the Texas Panhandle; continue our ongoing tests of the IHF flux-estimation technique; and evaluate eye-safe lidar as a path-averaging monitoring technology for the intermediate path lengths (50-300m) that will permit experimental discrimination of concentration data downwind of adjacent pen areas featuring different dust-abatement measures.

Authors    

Brent Auvermann, Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service b-auvermann@tamu.edu

K. Jack Bush and Kevin R. Heflin, Research Associates, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Additional information              

6500 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo, TX 79106-1796, (806)670-8081 (cell)

Acknowledgements      

USDA-NIFA Contract Nos. 2010-34466-20739 and 2009-55112-05235; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding; Texas Air Research Center; Texas Cattle Feeders Association

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.

Particulate Matter Adjacent to Cattle Deep-Bedded Monoslope Facilities

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Why Study Monoslope Barns and Air Quality?

Confined cattle facilities are an increasingly common housing system in the Northern Great Plains region.  Many of these facilities add organic bedding material to the pens once or twice per week.  Particulate matter concentrations and emissions from these facilities have not been evaluated.  The objective of this study was to quantify particulate matter concentration adjacent to a deep-bedded mono-slope facility housing cattle and to compare the concentrations during normal operation and a bedding event.

Average 24-hr total particulate matter concentration of ambient air collected from a beef deep-bedded monoslope barn.

What Did We Do?

Three Lo-Vol Particulate Samplers were placed 4.6 m from the north side of the building, and three were placed 4.6 m from the south side of the building with 36.6 m between the samplers on each side.  Average sampler flow rate was 16.7 L/min.  Samples were collected over two five-day periods (April and June 2011).  Each sample period included three 24-hr collections during normal operation and two 3-hr collections during a bedding event.  Filters were collected, conditioned for 48 hr at 21.1 °C and 35% humidity, then weighed in micrograms and analyzed on a Beckman Coulter LS 230 to determine total suspended particulate matter (TSP).

What Have We Learned?

Average 3-hr total particulate matter concentration of air collected during a bedding event of beef deep-bedded monoslope barn.

During the April sampling period, average 24-hr TSP concentration ranged from 40.1 to 91.4 µg/m3 during days of normal operation. Average 3-hr particulate matter concentration during bedding events ranged from 281.8 to 540.5 µg/m3.  During the June sampling period, 24-hr TSP concentration on days of normal operation ranged from 52.7 to 64.6 µg/m3, while 3-hr particulate matter concentration during bedding events averaged 302.4 to 1684.2 µg/m3. Sweeten et al. (1998) reported average TSP concentrations of 410 µg/m3 measures for 24 hr periods on open feedlots in Texas. In general, particulate matter concentrations adjacent to the deep-bedded monoslope facility were lower than previously reported for open lot feedlots.  Concentrations of TSP were higher during the 3-hr bedding event than during normal operation.

Future Plans

To compliment this research, data has been collected from two monoslope beef barns over the past two years as part of an AFRI-funded research grant.  MiniVol particulate samplers were used to determine PM-10 and PM-2.5 concentrations over 24-hr periods.  Data collected from this project will further define the particle size of dust being emitted from these facilities.

Authors

Mindy J. Spiehs, Research Animal Scientist, USDA – ARS Meat Animal Research Center, Clay  Center, NE, mindy.spiehs@ars.usda.gov

Greg A. Holt, Research Leader, USDA- ARS Cotton Production and Processing Research Unit, Lubbock, TX

Kris D. Kohl, Extension Agricultural Engineer, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Storm Lake, IA

Beth E. Doran, Extension Beef Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Orange City, IA

David B. Parker, Professor and Director, Commerical Core Laboratory, Palo Duro Research Center, West Texas A & M University, Canyon, TX

Erin Cortus, Assistant Professor, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Additional Information

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge James (Bud) Welch and Alan Kruger for assembly and disassembly of  the particulate matter sampling equipment and Ron and Clayton Christensen for the use of their cattle facility.  Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

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.

Dissipation of Fine Particulates Downwind of Poultry Houses

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Abstract

Air emissions from animal feeding operations have become a growing concern for producers and their neighbors.  Much work has been done to quantify emission rates; however, little information has been provided about air quality downwind from these facilities.  This study investigates PM2.5 (particulate matter ≤ 2.5 µm in diameter) levels as they dissipate from the exhaust fans of selected commercial, tunnel-ventilated, broiler houses in Northeast Georgia. PM2.5 was measured in real time using aerosol monitors and from a time-integrated basis using cyclone samplers.  Data were taken over the last 4-weeks of a summer flock (considered a worst-case-scenario) and filtered to insure enough data was present at each distance and time.  Results indicate a rapid reduction in fine particulate concentration as the distance from the source increases.  When compared to nearby monitoring data, particulate levels appear to be near background levels at distances greater than 30 m (100 ft) from the exhaust fans.

Why Study PM 2.5 in Poultry Production?

Considerable work has been done on evaluation of particulate and ammonia concentrations inside poultry houses and emissions from those houses.  Less is known about how concentrations dissipate as they leave the houses. This is a concern for neighbors of production facilities as well as farm owners.  The objective of this study was to investigate PM2.5 concentrations in the air up to 152.5 m (500ft) away from tunnel-ventilated broiler houses and compare those levels to ambient conditions. 

What Did We Do?

The study was conducted on a four-house commercial broiler farm in Northeast Georgia, from July 18 through August 12, 2007.  The houses were orientated east to west with open pasture located on the east end (downwind) of the four houses. The investigation incorporated a study design to include conditions which favored maximum emission rates, including high temperatures (July, August) and sampling during the final four weeks of the 8-week broiler grow-out cycle. 

Real time (DustTrak 8520) and daily cumulative gravimetric (Triplex cyclone; BGI, model SCC 1.062) PM2.5 measurements were measured at locations as shown on Figure 1. Publicly available data taken by Georgia EPD [9] using a TEOM 1400ab sampler at a site in Athens, GA (approx.. 32 km east of the site) was also used as an additional “control site.” 

What Have We Learned?

Particulate levels near poultry houses are elevated by emissions from the houses, however if we compare the readings on Figures 2a and 2b, we see that the largest single influence on the results was ambient conditions.  The downwind levels (2b) closely followed the ambient levels (2a). Similar results were seen for the daily gravimetric readings.  If we look at the average readings for the entire experiment at each distance from the house and compare those to in-house and ambient readings (Figure 3) we see a rapidly dropping influence on atmospheric particulate readings with no significant difference beyond 30 m from the houses.  While some of the measurements were above EPA’s ambient air standards, ambient conditions were also above the standards during those days.

Figure 2 PM 2.5 levels vs. distance from houses

Authors

John W Worley, Associate Professor, Poultry Science Department, University of Georgia jworley@uga.edu

Casey W Ritz1 Professor, Michael Czarick1,Sr. Public Service Associate, Brian D Fairchild1,Associate Professor, Luke P Naeher2 Associate Professor

1 Poultry Science Department, University of Georgia

2 Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Benjamin Hale and Mr. Adam Gray who did much of the field work including instrument calibration and lab analysis for this project and to Mr. Olorunfemi Adetona for his help in pulling together information for the document.  We would also like to thank the US Poultry and Egg Association for their financial support that enabled this research to be accomplished.

 

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.

Measuring Particulate Matter (Dust) in Animal Agriculture

Particulate matter (often called dust) is made up of particles that are suspended in the air. The following materials were developed for college instructors to utilize in their classrooms when presenting about particulates and livestock or poultry farms.

Laboratory Exercises

Presentation Slides

Techniques for Determining Particle Size Distribution (PSD) of Particulate Matter

This presentation was given to the American Chemical Society in 2011 and focuses on comparisons between different techniques as well as the challenges is making these measurements. (36 slides; 6 MB). Download a copy of this presentation.

Note: Some of the graphics are missing in the Slideshare preview below, but they are all available in the download link.

Photo Slide Show



Clicking on a photo will take you to its page with the description and the person that should be credited if you use the photo in a presentation.

Acknowledgements

These materials were developed by the Air Quality Education in Animal Agriculture (AQEAA) project with with financial support from the National Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2007-55112-17856 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For questions about the materials on this page contact Dr. Eileen Wheeler, Pennsylvania State University or the author, Dr. Lingjuan Wang-Li, North Carolina State University. For questions about the AQEAA project, contact Dr. Rick Stowell, Unviersity of Nebraska (rstowell2@unl.edu).

If you have presentations, photos, video, publications, or other instructional materials that could be added to the curricula on this page, please contact  Jill Heemstra (jheemstra@unl.edu).

Mitigating Dust (Particulate Matter) Emissions from Animal Agriculture

Air emissions from animal animal feedlots are sources of many different emissions including particulate matter (dust).

The materials on this page were developed to assist educators and professors who wish to include dust and particulate emissions and their control as a topic in their classrooms or educational programs.

Fact Sheet

Sharon L. P. Sakirkin, Texas AgriLife Research; Ronaldo Maghirang, Kansas State University; Steve Amosson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service; Brent W. Auvermann, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research

Alternate download: Includes Dust Emissions Part 1 (Introduction) and Part 2 (Abatement) in a single document (12 pages; PDF format)

Video

Controlling Particulate Matter (PM) Emissions

Ronaldo Maghirang, Kansas State University (8 minutes)

Presentation Slides (Combined with an introductory PM presentation)

If you need to download a copy of a segment, submit a request.

Acknowledgements

These materials were developed by the Air Quality Education in Animal Agriculture (AQEAA) project with with financial support from the National Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2007-55112-17856 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For questions about the materials on this page contact Dr. Kevin Janni, University of Minnesota (kjanni@umn.edu). For questions about the AQEAA project, contact Dr. Rick Stowell, Unviersity of Nebraska (rstowell2@unl.edu).

If you have presentations, photos, video, publications, or other instructional materials that could be added to the curricula on this page, please contact Dr. Janni or Jill Heemstra (jheemstra@unl.edu).

Dust From Cattle Feedyards: A Case Study From Texas

When talking about air quality around animal agriculture, one of the most common neighbor complaints comes from dust (sometimes also called particulate matter).  Dust is given off from cattle feedyards as animals move around on the pen surface. Although this dust usually settled out of the air relatively close to the feedlot, it can lead to nuisance issues with neighbors or nearby roadways. What causes dust emissions and how can we manage cattle feedyards in ways that reduce dust?

Download a copy of this video

Download this video to use in your offline education or extension programs and presentations.

Size: 50 MB

Format: MP4

Acknowledgements

This video was authored by the late Dr. Ron Sheffield, Louisiana State University AgCenter. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Rick Stowell, rstowell2@unl.edu

These materials were developed by the Air Quality Education in Animal Agriculture (AQEAA) project with with financial support from the National Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2007-55112-17856 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Dust (Particulate Matter) Emissions From Animal Agriculture: An Introduction

Air emissions from animal animal feedlots are sources of many different emissions including particulate matter (dust).

The materials on this page were developed to assist educators and professors who wish to include dust and particulate emissions and their control as a topic in their classrooms or educational programs.

Fact Sheet

Sharon L. P. Sakirkin, Texas AgriLife Research; Ronaldo Maghirang, Kansas State University; Steve Amosson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service; Brent W. Auvermann, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research

Alternate download: Includes Dust Emissions Part 1 (Introduction) and Part 2 (Abatement) in a single document (12 pages; PDF format)

Video

Quantifying Particulate Matter (PM) Emissions

Russell McGee, Texas AgriLife Research (7 minutes)

Presentation Slides (Combined with a presentation on dust control)

If you need to download a copy of a segment, submit a request.

Acknowledgements

These materials were developed by the Air Quality Education in Animal Agriculture (AQEAA) project with with financial support from the National Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2007-55112-17856 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For questions about the materials on this page contact Dr. Kevin Janni, University of Minnesota (kjanni@umn.edu). For questions about the AQEAA project, contact Dr. Rick Stowell, Unviersity of Nebraska (rstowell2@unl.edu).

If you have presentations, photos, video, publications, or other instructional materials that could be added to the curricula on this page, please contact Dr. Janni or Jill Heemstra (jheemstra@unl.edu).