Mitigation of ammonia, nitrous oxide and methane emissions from manure management chains: a meta-analysis and integrated assessment

Y. Yong*, G.L. Velthof, O. Oenema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

205 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock manure contributes considerably to global emissions of ammonia (NH3) and greenhouse gases (GHG), especially methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Various measures have been developed to mitigate these emissions, but most of these focus on one specific gas and/or emission source. Here, we present a meta-analysis and integrated assessment of the effects of mitigation measures on NH3, CH4 and (direct and indirect) N2O emissions from the whole manure management chain. We analysed the effects of mitigation technologies on NH3, CH4 and N2O emissions from individual sources statistically using results of 126 published studies. Whole-chain effects on NH3 and GHG emissions were assessed through scenario analysis. Significant NH3 reduction efficiencies were observed for (i) housing via lowering the dietary crude protein (CP) content (24–65%, compared to the reference situation), for (ii) external slurry storages via acidification (83%) and covers of straw (78%) or artificial films (98%), for (iii) solid manure storages via compaction and covering (61%, compared to composting), and for (iv) manure application through band spreading (55%, compared to surface application), incorporation (70%) and injection (80%). Acidification decreased CH4 emissions from stored slurry by 87%. Significant increases in N2O emissions were found for straw-covered slurry storages (by two orders of magnitude) and manure injection (by 26–199%). These side-effects of straw covers and slurry injection on N2O emission were relatively small when considering the total GHG emissions from the manure chain. Lowering the CP content of feed and acidifying slurry are strategies that consistently reduce NH3 and GHG emissions in the whole chain. Other strategies may reduce emissions of a specific gas or emissions source, by which there is a risk of unwanted trade-offs in the manure management chain. Proper farm-scale combinations of mitigation measures are important to minimize impacts of livestock production on global emissions of NH3 and GHG
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1312
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • greenhouse-gas emissions
  • dietary crude protein
  • slurry application techniques
  • carbon-dioxide emissions
  • fatty-acid concentration
  • dairy-cattle buildings
  • growing-finishing pigs
  • sugar-beet pulp
  • gaseous emissions
  • deep-litter


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