Fusionfarming to the rescue – viable solution for reduction of ammonia levels in livestock shelters

On March 24, 2013

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has circulated for comments a proposal to reduce the acceptable ammonia levels in the air in animal rooms from 25 ppm to 5 ppm. The Farmer’s

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has circulated for comments a proposal to reduce the acceptable ammonia levels in the air in animal rooms from 25 ppm to 5 ppm

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has circulated for comments a proposal to reduce the acceptable ammonia levels in the air in animal rooms from 25 ppm to 5 ppm

Association has responded on behalf of the Norwegian livestock producers, saying this will be impossible to achieve as it will require extensive modifications to all existing livestock shelters at a cost that will potentially bankrupt the entire industry.   N2 Applied has informed the Farmer’s Association that fusion farming and the N Fix technology would provide a solution to this challenge.

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority letter 

The Norwegian Farmer ‘s Union reply

Ammonia diffusing to air is a challenge within agriculture, especially in livestock shelters.  The diffusion derives most significantly from biological processes releasing ammonia from manure, and also where ammonia is used to enhance digestibility of livestock feed like straw. Ammonia is a health risk and diffusion of ammonia to air represents challenges related to

  • Livestock health:  Low levels of ammonia in air is an advantage for animal health
  • Public health:  Ammonia in work environments is damaging to human health

The release of ammonia to air creates health and animal welfare issues while at the same time it represents opportunities:

  • As a resource:  Could we capture the ammonia/avoid diffusion.  If so – could the nitrogen we capture be made available to plants as fertilizer?
  • Business:  To capture and utilize ammonia which would otherwise diffuse and in addition keep the livestock shelter atmosphere low in ammonia concentration, will be beneficial to the farmer’s bottom line.

The combination of livestock health and business considerations has traditionally had high awareness within the poultry community, now additional sectors are joining in.

The public health perspective has been brought stronger to our attention through The Norwegian Labour Inspection’s  proposed changes to ”Regulations on Administrative standards for pollution of the atmosphere in working environments “(see The Labour Inspection’s comment letter).

The entire agricultural sector is interested in improved animal health, environmentally sound working conditions and resource efficiency.

The Norwegian Farmer’s Association has taken initiative to verify technology to recuce ammonia levels in livestock shelters

The Norwegian Farmer’s Association has taken initiative to verify technology to recuce ammonia levels in livestock shelters

The Norwegian Farmer’s Association has responded to the The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority proposal to reduce the acceptable ammonia levels in air in animal rooms from 25 ppm to 5 ppm.  In addition The Norwegian Farmer’s Association has initiated a discussion related to the establishment of a joint project cross “animal species” to examine the possibilities of the N fix technology in this respect.  This is their invitation:

Ammonia in agriculture is first and foremost the result of biological processes associated with the release of ammonia from manure. These processes are not industrially regulated, but a result of quite a few variables.  Ammonia exposure varies with:

  • Livestock category, operational procedures, operational cycles, age of the animals
  • Time of year and weather conditions (fall and winter are exposed – especially January and February)
  • Building construction and technical solutions (ventilation, heating, feed, manure treatment, room volume etc.)
  • Routines (manure treatment, cleaning, feeding etc.)

By combining chemistry and physics ammonia can be prevented from diffusing and prevented from running off. Technology which prevents ammonia diffusing from manure exists as do technology to capture released ammonia, but neither of these have yet been tested in operation.  A potential joint project will test the technology in everyday operation.  This is needed in order to

  1. Verify if the technology works in practice
  2. Document the resulting air quality in livestock shelters
  3. Verify nitrogen content in resulting fertilizer.

If the theory and the technology work as expected, the project could lay the foundation for greater use and value of nitrogen as fertilizer (resource perspective).

Inger Johanne Sikkeland, Advisor in The Norwegian Farmer’s Association.  Initiator of joint technology verification project cross animal categories

Inger Johanne Sikkeland, Advisor in The Norwegian Farmer’s Association. Initiator of joint technology verification project cross animal categories

As of today (March 2013) the invited parties are evaluating the proposition,  and Inger Johanne Sikkeland, Advisor in The Norwegian Farmer’s Association, is awaiting their feedback. (Nortura, Tine, Norsvin, Bioforsk, UMB, Animalia)

In N2 Applied – given the backdrop of Klimameldingen as well as The Gothenbourg Protocol – we much believe the issue is important.  And we believe fusion farming can come to rescue.  We look forward to verify the N fix technology in practice and document the results.   Maybe The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s proposal to reduce the acceptable ammonia levels in the air in animal rooms from 25 ppm to 5 ppm is within reach.

Could this be an interesting verification project to participate in for you and your company – or your farm?  Let us know!

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