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UK’s NPA welcomes revised ammonia emissions factors

The National Pig Association has welcomed revised ammonia emissions factors from the AHDB, saying the revisions could save pig farmers thousands of pounds.

26 May 2020, at 10:59am

The NPA reports that the UK’s Agriculture and Horticultural Development Board (AHBD) is updating its longstanding emissions factors for pig buildings. Updating the standards could save pig producers thousands of pounds.

Multilateral agreements on air pollution have the UK committed to reducing ammonia emissions from the agriculture sector by 16 percent before 2030.

However, the data that underpinned the emissions factors are from 20-year-old studies – making the recommendations outdated. In order to make better recommendations, AHDB’s Environment and Buildings team has began a large-scale project to measure the ammonia emissions from different pig buildings in the UK.

The emissions factors (EFs) are used by the Environment Agency, Defra and Natural England to assess the impact of permitted farms’ ammonia emissions on the environment. The bodies also use the data when making decisions on planning applications and reporting annual emissions to the European Commission.

Zanita Markham, AHDB environment and buildings KT Officer said the levy body had taken a major step towards ensuring accurate information is used to assess the environmental impact of ammonia emissions from pigs, with trials underway across a range of different production systems.

“In our initial trials, we measured ammonia emissions from one straw-based and one fully slatted finisher farm, focusing on ammonia concentration in the inlet and exhaust air, using a bespoke analyser," she said.

“In addition, the number of pigs, weights, feed intake, protein content of diets, ventilation rates, external and internal temperature and relative humidity were also recorded, as per an internationally recognised, standardised protocol from VERA (test protocols are designed to provide reliable and comparable information on the performance of a range of environmental technologies for livestock production).

"This means that results from different studies can be compared and systems benchmarked.”

Read more about this story on the NPA website.