Ammonia losses and nitrogen partitioning at a southern High Plains open tot dairy Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015. Animal agriculture is a significant source of ammonia (NH3). Cattle excrete most ingested nitrogen (N); most urinary N is converted to NH3, volatilized and lost to the atmosphere. Open lot dairies on the southern High Plains are a growing industry and face environmental challenges as well as reporting requirements for NH3 emissions. We quantified NH3 emissions from the open lot and wastewater lagoons of a commercial New Mexico dairy during a nine-day summer campaign. The 3500-cow dairy consisted of open lot, manure-surfaced corrals (22.5ha area). Lactating cows comprised 80% of the herd. A flush system using recycled wastewater intermittently removed manure from feeding alleys to three lagoons (1.8ha area). Open path lasers measured atmospheric NH3 concentration, sonic anemometers characterized turbulence, and inverse dispersion analysis was used to quantify emissions. Ammonia fluxes (15-min) averaged 56 and 37gm-2s-1 at the open lot and lagoons, respectively. Ammonia emission rate averaged 1061kgd-1 at the open lot and 59kgd-1 at the lagoons; 95% of NH3 was emitted from the open lot. The per capita emission rate of NH3 was 304gcow-1d-1 from the open lot (41% of N intake) and 17gcow-1d-1 from lagoons (2% of N intake). Daily N input at the dairy was 2139kgd-1, with 43, 36, 19 and 2% of the N partitioned to NH3 emission, manure/lagoons, milk, and cows, respectively.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Todd, R. W., Cole, N. A., Hagevoort, G. R., Casey, K. D., & Auvermann, B. W.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Todd, Richard W||Cole, N Andy||Hagevoort, G Robert||Casey, Kenneth D||Auvermann, Brent W

publication date

  • January 2015