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Review of greenhouse gas emissions from the storage and land application of farm dairy effluent

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 11:47 authored by J Laubach, S Heubeck, C Pratt, Kenneth Woodward, B Guieysse, Tony VanDerWeerden, M Chung, A Shilton, R Craggs
The amounts of farm dairy effluent stored in ponds and irrigated to land have steadily increased with the steady growth of New Zealand’s dairy industry. About 80% of dairy farms now operate with effluent storage ponds allowing deferred irrigation. These storage and irrigation practices cause emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and ammonia. The current knowledge of the processes causing these emissions and the amounts emitted is reviewed here. Methane emissions from ponds are the largest contributor to the total GHG emissions from effluent in managed manure systems in New Zealand. Nitrous oxide emissions from anaerobic ponds are negligible, while ammonia emissions vary widely between different studies, probably because they depend strongly on pH and manure composition. The second-largest contribution to GHG emissions from farm dairy effluent comes from nitrous oxide emissions from land application. Ammonia emissions from land application of effluent in New Zealand were found to be less than those reported elsewhere from the application of slurries. Recent studies have suggested that New Zealand’s current GHG inventory method to estimate methane emissions from effluent ponds should be revised. The increasing importance of emissions from ponds, while being a challenge for the inventory, also provides an opportunity to achieve mitigation of emissions due to the confined location of where these emissions occur.


Rights statement

© 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Taylor & Francis

Journal title

New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research




Laubach, J., Heubeck, S., Pratt, C., Woodward, K. B., Guieysse, B., van der Weerden, T. J., Chung, M. L., Shilton, A. N., Craggs, R. J. (2015). Review of greenhouse gas emissions from the storage and land application of farm dairy effluent. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 58(2), 203-233.

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