Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Broiler Houses in the Southeastern United States

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Burns, Robert
Li, Hong
Overhults, Douglas
Earnest, John
Moody, Lara
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Xin, Hongwei
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), from broiler houses located in the southeastern United States were continuously monitored over a one-year period. The birds were grown to 52 days of age at an average stocking density of 11.8 birds/m2 (1.1 birds/ft2). Methane and CO2 emissions were measured in two broiler houses while N2O emissions were measured in one house. Carbon dioxide and N2O concentrations were measured using a photoacoustic multi-gas analyzer and CH4 concentrations were measured using a dual-channel methane/non-methane-hydrocarbon (NMHC)/total hydrocarbon analyzer with dual flame ionization detectors. Ventilation rates in each house were continuously calculated by monitoring the building static pressure and operational status of all ventilation fans in conjunction with individual fan performance curves developed and verified in situ using a Fan Assessment Numeration System (FANS) unit. Annual CO2 emissions measured from the two broiler houses averaged 606 Mg (668 US tons) per house. On a marketed bird basis the CO2 emissions averaged 4.64 Mg (5.49 US tons) per 1,000 birds marketed. Annual CH4 emissions averaged 445 kg (982 lbs) per house, or 3.41 kg (7.52 lbs) per 1,000 birds marketed. Annual N2O emissions measured from one broiler house was 225 kg (496 lbs) per house, or 1.72 kg (3.8 lbs) per 1,000 birds marketed. The CO2 equivalents of the CH4 and N2O emissions were, respectively, 85.3 kg (188 lb) and 512.6 kg (1,128 lb) per 1,000 birds marketed. Hence the total CO2 equivalent GHG emissions for the broiler operations monitored in this study were 5.238 Mg per 1,000 birds marketed, with 88.6% contributed by CO2.


This is an ASABE Meeting Presentation, Paper No. 084649.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008