Ammonia and odour emissions from UK pig farms and nitrogen leaching from outdoor pig production: a review

J Webb, M Broomfield, SK Jones, B Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Wereviewed specific literature for emissions of ammonia (NH3) and odours fromall stages of pig production together with nitrogen (N) leaching from raising pigs outdoors. Emissions of NH3 decrease with decreases in the crude protein (CP) content of pig diets, at all stages of manure management. The CPs of pig diets have been greatly reduced by matching the CP content to the protein required at each stage of the animals' growth and by using synthetic essential amino acids to minimise total CP intake. The CP contents of the dietary ingredients needed to provide energy for the animals impose further limits to reductions in dietary CP. Housing systems have been designed and evaluatedwhich offer potential for reducing NH3 emissions. However such designs may not be applicable at all stages of the pigs' development and the carefulmanagement needed to ensure their effectiveworking may be costly and difficult to implement on commercial farms. The factors behind odour emissions are less well characterised. Reducing diet CP to 160 g CP kg−1 has been shown to reduce odour emissions but further CP reductions may increase them. Some reductions in odour emissions from buildings can be achieved by careful management of the ventilation rate but themost effectivemeasures to reduce emissions of NH3 and odours are to cover slurry stores and to inject slurry into soil. Changes in the feeding and management of outdoor pigs mean that N leaching losses may be up to 50% less than previously reported. No studies have been undertaken that compare the N leached from pigs raised outdoors, versus that arising from the application of pig manure from an equal number of housed pigs. As a precursor to any field study, current models could be used to provide a first estimate of any systematic differences. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865 - 875
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date6 Nov 2013
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Feb 2014


  • Abatement
  • Ammonia
  • Diet
  • Leaching
  • Odour
  • Pigs


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