Monthly Archives: September 2018

Ammonia Emissions from Dairy Barns in Finland

Oral presentation at AgEng2018 Congress in Wageningen, Netherlands.


Maarit Hellstedt1), Sari Luostarinen2), Juha Grönroos3), Hannu Haapala4)

1)Natural Resources Institute Finland, Kampusranta 9 C, 60320 Seinäjoki,

2)Natural Resources Institute Finland,Vuorimiehentie 2, 02150 Espoo,

3)Finnish Environment Center SYKE, Mechelininkatu 34a, 00260 Helsinki,

4)Agrinnotech, Kalevankatu 12b A26, 60100 Seinäjoki,


Ammonia emissions from dairy barns depend on several variable factors, most importantly on indoor temperature, ventilation, manure composition (type, nitrogen content and pH), manure handling method used, and the quality and quantity of litter. National Finnish emission model for nitrogen compounds, however, has been developed on the basis of international guidelines. In order to check and improve the reliability of these calculations, a sufficient number of domestic emission measurements is needed.

In this study, ammonia emissions were measured in six different dairy barns in four seasons. Continuous measuring data loggers were used and the measurements were done during one-week measuring periods. The measured results were compared to those of the national emission model.

The ammonia emissions measured varied considerably both between seasons and barns, being mainly less than 5 g / cow / day in loose housing. In stationary barns, ammonia emissions were on average less than 3.5 g / cow / day.

The share of volatile ammonium nitrogen calculated from the ammonium content of manure varied between 1% and 17%. The mean value for free stall barns was 5.5%. This is significantly lower than the 17.6% calculated with the emission model. The mean value for stationary barns, 9.3%, was, in turn, higher than the <6% calculated by the model.

The measured ammonia concentrations were lower than those previously measured in comparable circumstances. In Finland, relatively few ammonia emission measurements have previously been made on animal housing and none during all seasons. The results obtained also give new information on the seasonal variations in emissions.

Still, the results represent only few measurements and locations and their use is limited. In addition, a new kind of measurement method has been used and it should be further assessed and developed.


Keywords: dairy production, ammonia emission, manure


Continuous on-farm measurement of Ammonia emissions in dairy barns

Oral presentation and full paper at XIX World Congress of CIGR in Antalya, Turkey.

Agrinnotech designed and tested the practical emission measurement system.


Maarit Hellstedt, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Hannu E S Haapala, Agrinnotech

Accurate assessment of national gaseous emissions needs measurements from different practical situations. The measurements need to be done in a proper way so that the results would represent the actual situations accurately enough.

In this study, measurements of Ammonia emissions were conducted in Finland at insulated and uninsulated stationary and loose-housing barns with different manure management and littering systems. The emission measurement instrumentation was done with a new setup enabling accurate results in both space and time. Usability of the measurement results and instrumentation were assessed.

One-week measurement sessions were done in a total of 24 sessions, i.e. six barns during all the four seasons. Continuously measuring Dräger PAC 7000 Ammonia monitors with a range of 0 to 300 ppm and a resolution of 1 ppm were used. The detection rate was set to 2 minutes in order to detect the dynamics of the emission. The Ammonia monitors together with CO2, temperature and RH gauges were placed inside the barns in three elevations (0.1, 1.0 and 2.5 meters) and in four to six locations, depending on the size of the barn. The ventilation rate in the barns was derived out of the measured C02balance. The Ammonia emission was then calculated based on the Ammonia concentrations and the ventilation rate.

According to the emission measurement results the loose-housing barns had significant differences in Ammonia emissions both during the seasons and between the farms as well, the level being mostly under 5 g/cow/day. In stationary barns the emission was less, under 3.5 g/cow/day. The emission level for loose-housing barns is considerably lower than the figures that have been previously used in national calculations. For stationary barns the situation is opposite. Loose-housing, however, is the dominant housing system in future. Consequently, the Ammonia emission level in Finland might be much lower than projected in the previous modelling.

The results concerning the implementation point out the importance of understanding the local circumstances and the ability to make the measurement design accordingly. Since there were several instrumentation locations the positioning of sensors could be evaluated. The dense detection rate could be used to reveal emission fluctuations and assess the effect of different detection rates on the reliability of measurements.

Instrument locations need to be derived from the barn layout and space. The continuous measurement principle with dense detection rate and relevant instrument locations allowed the researchers to find daily and momentous fluctuations in emission rate that were caused by the individual management practices on the farms and disturbances in them. These might explain the large variation in emission measurements that have been done before with inadequate instrumentation, i.e. using random locations or unsuitable detection rates.

The measurement principle utilized enables a more precise analyse of the differences of barns. The price-quality ratio of instrumentation limits the practical usability of methods. Research and inspection have different requirements from those of farm level. Continued studies are needed to develop optimised methods for farm level.

Key words: ammonia emission, measurement, accuracy, dairy production

How to efficiently support adoption of new technologies in agriculture?

Oral presentation and full paper at XIX World Congress of CIGR in Antalya, Turkey. Based on two research projects (2012-2017).


Hannu E S Haapala

Increased automation is needed in agriculture. Automation replaces heavy and dangerous work and enhances quality of life. If correctly chosen, automation simultaneously reduces negative environmental effects and raises effectiveness of production. To be real innovations, however, the new solutions need to achieve wide adoption. Adoption of new beneficial technologies is generally regarded slower than wanted. This is apparent in automated systems such as those of Precision Agriculture, both in arable and livestock applications.

The paper concludes results from two research projects on agricultural innovations: the OECD Joint Research Program research ´Speeding up innovation in agriculture´ (2011-2012) and EU HORIZON2020 project ´AgriSpin´ (2015-2017).

Conclusions of ´Speeding up innovations in agriculture´ pointed out the most important hinders. Automation, as all new technologies in agriculture, faces obstacles of adoption. Poor adoption includes mainly problems in acceptability. Usability issues are important. Farmers also face problems in integrating the new technologies in the existing systems at the farm level. They have mistrust on new technology as a whole. The education of engineers, designers, marketers and end-users of automation need to include more user-centered elements. They also need to interact better during R&D process. User-Centered Design (UCD) is promoted.

´AgriSpin´ was a forerunner in Multi-Actor Approach in HORIZON2020. Cross Visit methodology including thorough analysis of 50 innovation cases in Europe was applied and improved during the project. Spiral of Innovation was used to illustrate the cases and to communicate them to wider audience. Pearls, Puzzlings and Proposals were reported for each case in Final Symposiums where relevant stakeholders were informed about the findings and challenged for developing the local innovation environment of agriculture. Conclusions include that agricultural innovations, although technological in nature, are developed, realized, disseminated and embedded through a social process. This process should be understood better to be able to support it correctly. Multi-Actor Approach is needed since the application environment is complex.

New technologies including e.g. robotics, autonomous vehicles and automation need to be introduced in such an appropriate way that the adoption of the required changes happen effectively. Research is needed to better understand the restrictions of innovation in agriculture. Supporting actions that build on actual end-user requirements need to be introduced. New kind of advisory and consultation that cope with the systems level challenges is to be introduced. Demonstrations, Living Labs and user networks have a central role in this development. Educational needs of all actors involved need to be met.

Keywords: automation, technology, adoption, user-centered design, multi-actor approach