Relationships among slurry characteristics and gaseous emissions at different types of commercial Spanish pig farms

  • Amanda Becaccia Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dept. Producción Animal. 28040 Madrid
  • Pablo Ferrer Universitat Politècnica de València, Institute of Animal Science and Technology. 46022 Valencia
  • Miguel A. Ibañez Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dept. Estadística y Métodos de Gestión en Agricultura. 28040 Madrid
  • Fernando Estellés Universitat Politècnica de València, Institute of Animal Science and Technology. 46022 Valencia
  • Carlos Rodríguez Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dept. Producción Animal. 28040 Madrid
  • Verónica Moset Aarhus University, Dept. Engineering. Blichers Allé 20, DK 8830, Tjele
  • Carlos de Blas Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dept. Producción Animal. 28040 Madrid
  • Salvador Calvet Universitat Politècnica de València, Institute of Animal Science and Technology. 46022 Valencia
  • Paloma García-Rebollar Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dept. Producción Animal. 28040 Madrid
Keywords: ammonia, methane, NIRS, animal nutrition, prediction model.


This study aimed to analyse several factors of variation of slurry composition and to establish prediction equations for potential methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3) emissions. Seventy-nine feed and slurry samples were collected at two seasons (summer and winter) from commercial pig farms sited at two Spanish regions (Centre and Mediterranean). Nursery, growing-fattening, gestating and lactating facilities were sampled. Feed and slurry composition were determined, and potential CH4 and NH3 emissions measured at laboratory. Feed nutrient contents were used as covariates in the analysis. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) was evaluated as a predicting tool for slurry composition and potential gaseous emissions. A wide variability was found both in feed and slurry composition. Mediterranean farms had a higher pH (p<0.001) and ash (p=0.02) concentration than those located at the Centre of Spain. Also, type of farm affected ether extract content of the slurry (p=0.02), with highest values obtained for the youngest animal facilities. Results suggested a buffer effect of dietary fibre on slurry pH and a direct relationship (p<0.05) with fibre constituents of manure. Dietary protein content did not affect slurry nitrogen content but decreased (p=0.003) total and volatile solids concentration. Prediction models of potential NH3 emissions (R2=0.89) and CH4 yield (R2=0.61) were obtained from slurry composition. Predictions from NIRS showed a high accuracy for most slurry constituents (R2>0.90) and similar accuracy of prediction of potential NH3 and CH4 emissions (R2=0.84 and 0.68, respectively) to models using slurry characteristics, which can be of interest to estimate emissions from commercial farms and establish mitigation strategies or optimize biogas production.


Download data is not yet available.



Aarnink AJA, Verstegen MWA, 2007. Nutrition, key factor to reduce environmental load from pig production. Livest Sci 109: 194-203.

Álvarez-Rodríguez J, Hermida B, Parera J, Morazan H, Balcells J, Babot D, 2013. The influence of drinker device on water use and fertiliser value of slurry from growing-finishing pigs. Anim Prod Sci 53: 328-334.

Angelidaki I, Sanders W, 2004. Assessment of the anaerobic biodegradability of macropollutants. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 3: 117-129.

AOAC, 2000. Official methods of analysis, 15th ed. (Harwitte W, Ed.). Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Washington, USA.

APHA, 2005. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. Centennial Edition, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Barnes RJ, Dhanoa MS, Lister SJ, 1989. Standard normal variate transformation and de-trending of near diffuse reflectance spectra. Appl Spectrosc 43: 772-777.

Bietresato M, Sartori L, 2013. Technical aspects concerning the detection of animal waste nutrient content via its electrical characteristics. Bioresour Technol 132: 127-136.

Bindelle J, Buldgen A, Delacollette M, Wavreille J, Agneessens R, Destain JP, Leterme P, 2009. Influence of source and concentrations of dietary fiber on in vivo nitrogen excretion patways in pigs as reflected by in vitro fermentation and nitrogen incorporation by fecal bacteria. J Anim Sci 87: 583-593.

Box GEP, Cox DR, 1964. An analysis of transformations. J R Stat Soc B 26: 211-246.

Canh TT, Verstegen MWA, Aarnink AJA, Schrama JW, 1997. Influence of dietary factors on nitrogen partitioning and composition of urine and faeces of fattening pigs. J Anim Sci 75: 700-706.

Canh TT, Aarnink AJA, Schutte JB, Sutton A, Langhout DJ, Verstegen MWA, 1998. Dietary protein affects nitrogen excretion and ammonia emission from slurry of growing-finishing pigs. Livest Prod Sci 56: 181-191.

Chen L, Xing L, Han L, Yang Z, 2009. Evaluation of physicochemical models for rapidly estimating pig manure nutrient content. Biosyst Eng 103: 313-320.

Conn KL, Topp E, Lazarovits G, 2007. Factors influencing the concentration of volatile fatty acids, ammonia, and other nutrients in stored liquid pig manure. J Environ Qual 36: 440-447.

Dinuccio E, Berg W, Balsari P, 2008. Gaseous emissions from the storage of untreated slurries and the fractions obtained after mechanical separation. Atmos Environ 42: 2448-2459.

Doublet J, Boulanger A, Ponthieux A, Laroche C, Poitrenaud M, Cacho Rivero JA, 2013. Predicting the biochemical methane potential of wide range of organic substrates by near infrared spectroscopy. Bioresour Technol 128: 252-258.

EEA, 2014a. European Union emission inventory report 1990-2012 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). European Environment Agency, Technical Report 12/2013.

EEA, 2014b. Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2012 and inventory Report 2014. Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat. European Environment Agency, Technical Report 9/2013.

Faostat, 2014. Production quantities by country, 2012. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available in [accessed April 2014].

FEDNA, 2010. Tablas FEDNA de composición y valor nutritivo de alimentos para la fabricación de piensos compuestos, 3rd ed. (de Blas C, Mateos GG, García-Rebollar P, Eds). Fundación Española para el Desarrollo de la Nutrición Animal, Madrid, Spain, 502 pp.

Galassi G, Colombini L, Malagutti L, Crovetto GM, Rapetti L, 2010. Effects of high fibre and low protein diets on performance, digestibility, nitrogen excretion and ammonia emission in the heavy pig. Anim Feed Sci Technol 161: 140-148.

Halas D, Hansen CF, Hampson DJ, Kim JC, Mullan BP, Wilson RH, Pluske JR, 2010. Effects of benzoic acid and inulin on ammonia-nitrogen excretion, plasma urea levels, and the pH of faeces and urine of weaner pigs. Livest Sci 134: 243-245.

Hayes ET, Leek ABG, Curran TP, Dodd VA, Carton OT, Beattie VE, O'Doherty JV, 2004. The influence of diet crude protein level on odour and ammonia emissions from finishing pig houses. Bioresour Technol 91: 309-315.

Hernández F, Martínez S, López C, Megías MD, López M, Madrid J, 2011. Effect of dietary crude protein levels in a commercial range on the nitrogen balance, ammonia emission and pollutant characteristics of slurry in fattening pigs. Animal 5: 1290-1298.

Huang G, Han L, Liu X, 2007. Rapid estimation of the composition of animal manure compost by near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. J Near Infrared Spec 15: 387-394.

Jarret G, Cerisuelo A, Peu P, Martinez J, Dourmad JY, 2012. Impact of pig diets with different fibre contents on the composition of excreta and their gaseous emissions and anaerobic digestion. Agr Ecosys Environ 160: 51-58.

Jørgensen H, 2007. Methane emission by growing pigs and adult sows as influenced by fermentation. Livest Sci 109: 216-219.

Jouany JP, 1982. Volatile fatty acid and alcohol determination in digestive contents, silage juices, bacterial cultures and anaerobic fermentor contents. Sci Alimen 2: 131-144.

Kerr BJ, Ziemer SL, Trabue SL, Crouse JD, Parkin TB, 2006. Manure composition of swine as affected by dietary protein and cellulose concentrations. J Anim Sci 84: 1584-1592.

Kreuzer M, Wittmann M, Gerdemann MM, Hanneken H, Abel H, Machmuller A, 1999. Re-examination of the metabolizable energy contents of various rations containing different types and levels of bacterially fermentable substrates in digestibility experiments with growing pigs. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr 82: 33-49.

Licitra G, Hernández TM, Van Soest PJ, 1996. Standardization of procedures for nitrogen fractionation of ruminant feed. Anim Feed Sci Technol 57: 347-358.

Liu Z, Powers W, Liu H, 2013. Greenhouse gas emissions from swine operations: Evaluation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approaches through meta-analysis. J Anim Sci 91: 4017-4032.

Malley DF, Yesmin L, Eilers RG, 2002. Rapid analysis of hog manure and manure-amended soils using near-infrared spectroscopy. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66: 1677-1686.

Martinez-Suller L, Provolo G, Carton OT, Brennan D, Kirwan L, Richards KG, 2010. The composition of dirty water on dairy farms in Ireland. Irish J Agr Food Res 49: 67-80.

Mertens DR, 2002. Gravimetric determination of amylase-treated neutral detergent fibre in feeds with refluxing beakers or crucibles: collaborative study. J AOAC Int 85: 1217-1240.

Møller HB, Sommer SG, Ahring BK, 2004a. Methane productivity of manure, straw and solid fractions of manure. Biomass Bioenerg 36: 485-495.

Møller HB, Sommer SG, Ahring BK, 2004b. Biological degradation and greenhouse gas emissions during pre-storage of liquid animal manure. J Environ Qual 33: 27-36.

Montalvo G, Morales J, Pineiro C, Godbout S, Bigeriego M, 2013. Effect of different dietary strategies on gas emissions and growth performance in post-weaned piglets. Span J Agric Res 11: 1016-1027.

Moral R, Perez-Murcia MD, Perez-Espinosa A, Moreno-Caselles J, Paredes C, Rufete B, 2008. Salinity, organic content, micronutrients and heavy metals in pig slurries from South-eastern Spain. Waste Manage 28: 367-371.

Pereira J, Misselbrook TH, Chadwick DR, Coutinho J, Trindade H, 2012. Effects of temperature and dairy cattle excreta characteristics on potential ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions from housing: A laboratory study. Biosyst Eng 112: 138-150.

Portejoie S, Dourmad JY, Martinez J, Lebreton Y, 2004. Effect of lowering dietary crude protein on nitrogen excretion, manure composition and ammonia emission from fattening pigs. Livest Prod Sci 91: 45-55.

Reeves JB, 2007. The present status of "quick tests" for on-farm analysis with emphasis on manures and soil: What is available and what is lacking? Livest Sci 112: 224-231.

Saeys W, Mouazen AM, Ramon H, 2005. Potential for onsite and online analysis of pig manure using visible and near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Biosyst Eng 91: 393-402.

Sánchez M, González JL, 2005. The fertilizer value of pig slurry. I. Values depending on the type of operation. Bioresour Technol 96: 1117-1123.

SAS Inst., 2008. SAS/STAT® User's guide, v 9.3, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.

Shenk JS, Westerhaus MO, 1996. Calibration of ISI way. In: Near infrared spectroscopy: the future waves (Davies AMC, Williams P, eds). NIR Publ., Chichester, West Sussex, UK, pp: 198-202.

Snoek DJ, Stigter JD, Ogink NW, Groot Koerkamp PW, 2014. Sensitivity analysis of mechanistic models for estimating ammonia emission from dairy cow urine puddles. Biosyst Eng 121: 12-24.

Soares M, López-Bote CJ, 2002. Effect of dietary lecithins and fat unsaturation on nutrient utilization in weaned pigs. Anim Feed Sci Technol 95: 167-177.

Sørensen LK, Sørensen P, Birkmose TS, 2007. Application of reflectance near infared spectroscopy for animal slurry analyses. Soil Sci Soc Am J 71: 1398-1405.

Tamminga S, 2003. Pollution due to nutrient losses and its control in European animal production. Livest Prod Sci 84: 101-111.

Triolo JM, Sommer SG, Møller HB, Weisbjerg, Jiang XY, 2011. A new algorithm to characterize biodegradability of biomass during anaerobic digestion: Influence of lignin concentration on methane production potential. Bioresour Technol 102: 9395-9402.

Triolo JM, Ward AJ, Pedersen L, Løkke MM, Qu H, Sommer SG, 2014. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) for rapid determination of biochemical methane potential of plant biomass. Appl Energ 116: 52-57.

Van Soest PJ, Robertson JB, Lewis BA, 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. J Dairy Sci 74: 3583-3597.

Van Soest PJ, 1994. Nutritional ecology of the ruminant, 2nd edition. Cornell Univ Press, USA, 476 pp.

Vedrenne F, Béline F, Dabert P, Bernet N, 2007. The effect of incubation conditions on the laboratory measurement of methane producing capacity of livestock wastes. Bioresour Technol 99: 146-155.

Von Heimendahl E, Breves G, Abel H, 2010. Fiber-related digestive processes in three different breeds of pigs. J Anim Sci 88: 972-981.

Williams PC, Sobering D, 1996. How do we do it: a brief summary of the methods we use in developing near infrared calibrations. In: Near infrared spectroscopy: the future waves (Davies AMC, Williams P, eds). NIR Publ., Chichester, West Sussex, UK, pp: 185-188.

Williams PC, 2001. Implementation of near-infrared technology. In: Near-infrared technology in the agricultural and food industries, 2nd ed (Williams PC, Norris K, Eds.). Am Assoc Cereal Chemists Inc., St. Paul, MN, USA, pp: 145-169.

Yagüe MR, Bosch-Serra AD, Boixadera J, 2012. Measurement and estimation of the fertiliser value of pig slurry by physicochemical models: Usefulness and constraints. Biosyst Eng 111: 206-216.

Ye W, Lorimor JC, Hurburgh C, Zhang H, Hattey J, 2005. Application of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy for determination of nutrient contents in liquid and solid manures. T ASAE 48: 1911-1918.

How to Cite
BecacciaA., FerrerP., IbañezM. A., EstellésF., RodríguezC., MosetV., de BlasC., CalvetS., & García-RebollarP. (2015). Relationships among slurry characteristics and gaseous emissions at different types of commercial Spanish pig farms. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(1), e0602.
Animal production