Vegetative buffers for fan emissions from poultry farms: 1. Temperature and foliar nitrogen

P. H. Patterson, A. Adrizal, R. M. Hulet, R. M. Bates, C. A.B. Myers, G. P. Martin, R. L. Shockey, M. Van Der Grinten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study sought to evaluate the potential of trees planted around commercial poultry farms to trap ammonia (NH3), the gas of greatest environmental concern to the poultry industry. Four plant species (Norway spruce, Spike hybrid poplar, Streamco willow, and hybrid willow) were planted on eight commercial farms from 2003 to 2004. Because temperature (T) can be a stressor for trees, T was monitored in 2005 with data loggers among the trees in front of the exhaust fans (11.4 to 17.7 m) and at a control distance away from the fans (48 m) during all four seasons in Pennsylvania. Norway spruce (Picea abies) foliage samples were taken in August 2005 from one turkey and two layer farms for dry matter (DM) and nitrogen (N) analysis. The two layer farms had both Norway spruce and Spike hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides x Populus nigra) plantings sampled as well allowing comparisons of species and the effect of plant location near the fans versus a control distance away. Proximity to the fans had a clear effect on spruce foliar N with greater concentrations downwind of the fans than at control distances (3.03 vs. 1.88%; P ≤ 0.0005). Plant location was again a significant factor for foliar N of both poplar and spruce on the two farms with both species showing greater N adjacent to the fans compared to the controls (3.75 vs. 2.32%; P ≤ 0.0001). Pooled foliar DM of both plants was also greater among those near the fans (56.17, fan vs. 44.67%, control; P ≤ 0.005). Species differences were also significant showing the potential of poplar to retain greater foliar N than spruce (3.52 vs. 2.55%; P ≤ 0.001) with less DM (46.00 vs. 54.83%; P ≤ 0.05) in a vegetative buffer setting. The results indicated plants were not stressed by the T near exhaust fans with mean seasonal T (13.04 vs. 13.03°C, respectively) not significantly different from controls. This suggested poultry house exhaust air among the trees near the fans would not result in dormancy stressors on the plants compared to controls away from the fans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


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