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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 3, p. 694-704
    Received: Sept 13, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): woodj@uoguelph.ca
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Relationships between Dairy Slurry Total Solids, Gas Emissions, and Surface Crusts

  1. J. D. Wood *,
  2. R. J. Gordon,
  3. C. Wagner-Riddle,
  4. K. E. Dunfield and
  5. A. Madani
  1. School of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd. E., Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada; A. Madani, Dep. of Engineering, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro, NS, Canada. Assigned to Associate Editor Søren O. Petersen


Livestock slurry storages are sources of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ammonia (NH3) emissions. Total solids (TS) content is an indicator of substrate availability for CH4 and N2O production and NH3 emissions and is related to crust formation, which can affect these gas emissions. The effect of TS on these emissions from pilot-scale slurry storages was quantified from 20 May through 16 Nov. 2010 in Nova Scotia, Canada. Emissions from six dairy slurries with TS ranging from 0.3 to 9.5% were continuously measured using flow-through steady-state chambers. Methane emissions modeled using the USEPA methodology were compared with measured data focusing on emissions when empty storages were filled, and retention times were >30 d with undegraded volatile solids (VS) remaining in the system considered available for CH4 production (VS carry-over). Surface crusts formed on all the slurries. Only the slurries with TS of 3.2 and 5.8% were covered completely for ∼3 mo. Nitrous oxide contributed <5% of total greenhouse gas emissions for all TS levels. Ammonia and CH4 emissions increased linearly with TS despite variable crusting, suggesting substrate availability for gas production was more important than crust formation in regulating emissions over long-term storage. Modeled CH4 emissions were substantially higher than measured data in the first month, and accounting for this could improve overall model performance. Carried-over VS were a CH4 source in months 2 through 6. The results of this study suggest that substrate availability regulates emissions over long-term storage and that modifying the USEPA model to better describe carbon cycling is warranted.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.