8 commentsupdate:Nov 8, 2012

Ammonia and the environment

Recently, World Poultry Science Association (WPSA) Indonesia branch invited Prof. Paul H. Patterson from the Department of Poultry Science, Pennsylvania State University, United States to give a technical seminar and I was one of the participants.


Ammonia volatilization from poultry manure was the main issue explained by Prof. Patterson. It’s interesting from my point of view because Prof. Patterson presented data showing that 64% of atmospheric ammonia in United States comes from livestock and poultry production (estimation of Environment Protection Agency (EPA) of United States, 1987).

He continued, based on fieldwork conducted with commercial pullets, laying hens, broilers and turkeys in Pennsylvania from 1994-1997 indicated that between 18 and 40% of dietary N is lost to the atmosphere as ammonia or other nitrogenous compounds. As a direct consequence to the environment, ammonia nitrogen losses to the atmosphere can result in direct contamination of surface water. Whereas NO and N2O losses can contribute to the formation of nitric acid, one of the principle components of acid rain.

To reduce N excretion, Prof. Patterson recommends some dietary strategies:

1) formulate based on amino acid requirements rather than crude protein; 2) optimise the dietary amino acid profile with the bird’s requirement (ideal protein concept); 3) phase-feed poultry for their current rate of growth or production; 4) utilise the true amino acid digestibility of feed ingredients to enhance nitrogen-retention and reduce excretion; 5) select feed ingredients with low nutrient variability to reduce margins of safety in protein and amino acid formulation; 6) utilise enzymes and feed additives to enhance nitrogen retention; and 7) avoid or control ingredient anti-nutritional factors to improve protein digestibility.

From the explanation of Prof. Patterson, here are some points that we can discuss:

1. The data shared by Prof. Patterson from EPA is an old data, so how about the percentage today? How many percent is the atmospheric ammonia today if we talk globally? In my opinion, the percentage is increasing because reviewing partly, in some Asian countries lately, the development of poultry productions showed an increasing trend.
2. In a discussion session Prof. Patterson frankly said, poultry producers in United States are not too aware of the environment. “They’re concerned with performance and profit, but they keep listening to opinion and explanation about the environment recommended by institutions and universities,” he said. My question is: Does your company care about the environment?
3. Based on Prof. Patterson’s recommendations, which strategy or combination of strategies have you applied in your company that is effective to reduce N excretion, but still efficient in feed cost?


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    Ivan Milin

    Ammonia and many other manure related problems would soon disappear when Milinator technology is implemented. The beauty of this environmentally friendly technology is that it could support itself and would not cost farmers anything to implement it.

    Milinator technology is being commercialized on University of Guelph, Canada and is expected to be available within the next 12 months. <>

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    Observations that NH3 in the environment is increasing is true. Large production increases in poultry production ensures this fact. However, new uses have been found for chicken manure and this may mitigate the issue. We use chicken manure in fish and shrimp production (essentially because it's cheaper than most fertilizers )., I would like to know what the millinator can do a aquaculture perspective.

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    Ivan Milin

    Answer to jake: Milinator Technology produces stable and extremely potent Organic Fertilizers and Protein-rich animal feed in a form of Fly Larvae and Pupae. Fly Larvae are natural food for fish and that is why �Fly Fishing� is so popular sport. We were already approached by fish food distributors and as soon as our prototype starts producing significant amount of larvae, they would start field trials on a fish (Trout) farms.
    I do not know much about Shrimp farming but if fertilizer is needed, then Milinator fertilizer is perfect for it. It is pathogen free and has a pleasant smell on forest floor. Algae producers and hydroponics farmers are already experimenting with Milinator fertilizer and results are better than I ever dare to dream. In any case, eating fish fed by chicken manure is not very appetizing proposal.

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    R Kannan

    THank you very much for a very good article. In India, we are facing Ammonia problem mostly in winter season and Kemin has developed a unique Ammonia Binder which will bind the preformed ammonia as well as preventing the formation of ammonia from Poultry farm. I would be happy to share our experience as per the requirement.
    Thanks You

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    @ivan: thanks for reading my blog. I am so interested to know further about Milinator technology. Will read your web as soon as possible.

    @jake: thanks for reading my blog. Could you please tell me about the productivity of shrimp and fish when you use chicken manure?

    @ kannan: thanks for reading my blog. Could you explain more about your experience with ammonia problem?

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    D.Christopher Hettiarachchi

    Prof. Patterson's remarks "poultry producers not too aware of the environment" under estimate the knowledge of poultry operators.Modern poultry operation involves technology without which it fails.They are the first to think about the environment because damaging environment means damaging his own operation.Imagine,400 tons of broiler litter, every 50 days in our case, one can not feed this much to fish. Balance C:N ration & produce compost. Please check <> knowledge center to know what we do to protect the environment.

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    One of the solution to this problem and which is already in practice in some parts of the world is of producing BioGas from poultry manure. This Biogas thus produced has various applications and also the residue acts as a good organic fertiliser.

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    Arief Fachrudin

    @Christopher: thank you for the link. I found good information there.

    @Avneet: I agree with you. Thanks for sharing.

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