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Nutritional and Environmental Effects on Ammonia Emissions from Dairy Cattle Housing: A Meta-Analysis.


Nitrogen excreted in dairy manure can be potentially transformed and emitted as NH, which can create livestock and human respiratory problems and be an indirect source of NO. The objectives of this study were to: (i) investigate environmental factors influencing NH emissions from dairy housing; and (ii) identify key explanatory variables in the NH emissions prediction from dairy housing using a meta-analytical approach. Data from 25 studies were used for the preliminary analysis, and data from 10 studies reporting 87 treatment means were used for the meta-analysis. Season and flooring type significantly affected NH emissions. For nutritional effect analysis, the between-study variability (heterogeneity) of mean NH emission was estimated using random-effect models and had a significant effect ( < 0.01). Therefore, random-effect models were extended to mixed-effect models to explain heterogeneity regarding the available dietary and animal variables. The final mixed-effect model included milk yield, dietary crude protein, and dry matter intake separately, explaining 45.5% of NH emissions heterogeneity. A unit increase in milk yield (kg d) resulted in a 4.9 g cow d reduction in NH emissions, and a unit increase in dietary crude protein content (%) and dry matter intake (kg d) resulted in 10.2 and 16.3 g cow d increases in NH emissions, respectively, in the scope of this study. These results can be further used to help identify mitigation strategies to reduce NH emissions from dairy housing by developing predictive models that could determine variables with strong association with NH emissions.

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