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Ammonia Emissions from Farmland

Manures including slurries, FYM and broiler litter from housed livestock are the major sources of ammonia emissions to the atmosphere. The damaging effects of deposition on land and water habitats are well documented and methods for reducing ammonia emissions are already required on farms in some EU countries. International pressures may lead to the need for such controls in the UK in future possibly under the IPPC legislation.

Research is currently on-going to see if reducing emissions is possible, practical and financially viable.

Researchers have mapped agricultural releases of ammonia from farmland to the atmosphere. This work was carried out under the 'Ammonia Distribution and Effects Project (ADEPT)'. The mapping is on a 5 km grid scale and uses agricultural census data, satellite-based land-cover data and estimates of emission source strength. These new maps will help provide a better assessment of environmental impacts of ammonia emissions within the UK. The key objective of the project was to determine what proportion of ammonia emissions are re-deposited locally back to farm-land. It appears that this could be as high as 30% but it does vary with weather and the type of down-wind vegetation.

Source: DEFRA Environmental R&D Newsletter Vol 4: Autumn 1998. For more details contact Dr Mark Sutton, ITE.


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