Measuring and modeling nitrous oxide and methane emissions from beef cattle feedlot manure management: First assessments under Brazilian condition

J Environ Sci Health B. 2014;49(9):696-711. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2014.922856.


Intensive beef production has increased during recent decades in Brazil and may substantially increase both methane (CH(4)) and nitrous oxide (N(2)O) emissions from manure management. However, the quantification of these gases and methods for extrapolating them are scarce in Brazil. A case study examines CH(4) and N(2)O emissions from one typical beef cattle feedlot manure management continuum in Brazil and the applicability of Manure-DNDC model in predicting these emissions for better understand fluxes and mitigation options. Measurements track CH(4) and N(2)O emissions from manure excreted in one housing floor holding 21 animals for 78 days, stockpiled for 73 days and field spread (360 kg N ha(-1)). We found total emissions (CH(4) + N(2)O) of 0.19 ± 0.10 kg CO(2)eq per kg of animal live weight gain; mostly coming from field application (73%), followed housing (25%) and storage (2%). The Manure-DNDC simulations were generally within the statistical deviation ranges of the field data, differing in -28% in total emission. Large uncertainties in measurements showed the model was more accurate estimating the magnitude of gases emissions than replicate results at daily basis. Modeled results suggested increasing the frequency of manure removal from housing, splitting the field application and adopting no-tillage system is the most efficient management for reducing emissions from manure (up to about 75%). Since this work consists in the first assessment under Brazilian conditions, more and continuous field measurements are required for decreasing uncertainties and improving model validations. However, this paper reports promising results and scientific perceptions for the design of further integrated work on farm-scale measurements and Manure-DNDC model development for Brazilian conditions.

Keywords: Animal manure; Brazil; Manure-DNDC model; greenhouse gases; scenario analyses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Cattle
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Manure
  • Methane / analysis*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nitrous Oxide / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Manure
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Methane