Vegetative buffers for fan emissions from poultry farms: 2. Ammonia, dust and foliar nitrogen

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the potential of trees planted around commercial poultry farms to trap ammonia (NH3) and dust or particulate matter (PM). Norway spruce, Spike hybrid poplar, hybrid willow, and Streamco purpleosier willow were planted on five commercial farms from 2003 to 2004. Plant foliage was sampled in front of the exhaust fans and at a control distance away from the fans on one turkey, two laying hen, and two broiler chicken farms between June and July 2006. Samples were analyzed for dry matter (DM), nitrogen (N), and PM content. In addition, NH3 concentrations were measured downwind of the exhaust fans among the trees and at a control distance using NH3 passive dosi-tubes. Foliage samples were taken and analyzed separately based on plant species. The two layer farms had both spruce and poplar plantings whereas the two broiler farms had hybrid willow and Streamco willow plantings which allowed sampling and species comparisons with the effect of plant location (control vs. fan). The results showed that NH3 concentration h- 1 was reduced by distance from housing fans (P ≤ 0.0001), especially between 0 m (12.01 ppm), 11.4 m (2.59 ppm), 15 m (2.03 ppm), and 30 m (0.31 ppm). Foliar N of plants near the fans was greater than those sampled away from the fans for poplar (3.87 vs. 2.56%; P ≤ 0.0005) and hybrid willow (3.41 vs. 3.02%; P ≤ 0.05). The trends for foliar N in spruce (1.91 vs. 1.77%; P = 0.26) and Streamco willow (3.85 vs. 3.33; P = 0.07) were not significant. Pooling results of the four plant species indicated greater N concentration from foliage sampled near the fans than of that away from the fans (3.27 vs. 2.67%; P ≤ 0.0001). Foliar DM concentration was not affected by plant location, and when pooled the foliar DM of the four plant species near the fans was 51.3% in comparison with 48.5% at a control distance. There was a significant effect of plant location on foliar N and DM on the two layer farms with greater N and DM adjacent to fans than at a control distance (2.95 vs. 2.15% N and 45.4 vs. 38.2% DM, respectively). There were also significant plant species effects on foliar N and DM with poplar retaining greater N (3.22 vs. 1.88%) and DM (43.7 vs. 39.9%) than spruce. The interaction of location by species (P ≤ 0.005) indicated that poplar was more responsive in terms of foliar N, but less responsive for DM than spruce. The effect of location and species on foliar N and DM were not clear among the two willow species on the broiler farms. Plant location had no effect on plant foliar PM weight, but plant species significantly influenced the ability of the plant foliage to trap PM with spruce and hybrid willow showing greater potential than poplar and Streamco willow for PM2.5(0.0054, 0.0054, 0.0005, and 0.0016 mg cm- 2; P ≤ 0.05) and total PM (0.0309, 0.0102, 0.0038, and 0.0046 mg cm- 2, respectively; P ≤ 0.001). Spruce trapped more dust compared to the other three species (hybrid willow, poplar, and Streamco willow) for PM10 (0.0248 vs. 0.0036 mg cm- 2; P ≤ 0.0001) and PM>10 (0.0033 vs. 0.0003 mg cm- 2; P = 0.052). This study indicates that poplar, hybrid willow, and Streamco willow are appropriate species to absorb poultry house aerial NH3-N, whereas spruce and hybrid willow are effective traps for dust and its associated odors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-103
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


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