Journal article

A new cost-effective method to mitigate ammonia loss from intensive cattle feedlots: application of lignite

Deli Chen, Jianlei Sun, Mei Bai, Kithsiri B Dassanayake, Owen T Denmead, Julian Hill

Scientific Reports | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2015


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..

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Funding Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Meat and Livestock Australia for financial support. We thank Mr. Trevor Coates, Dr. Marcelo Benvenutti and Ms. Piumika Abesekara for technical support. We acknowledge Dr. Sean McGinn, Dr. Thomas Flesch, Dr. Arvin Mosier, Dr. Shu Kee Lam and Dr. Michael Thomas for providing useful comments on this manuscript.