Agricultural activities, in particular livestock farming, provide significant contributions to global ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions. In Switzerland, NH3 and non- CO2 GHG (e.g. methane and nitrous oxide) emissions from agriculture even dominate the anthropogenic load. According to model calculations, 94% of total NH3 emissions in Switzerland were attributed to farming in 2007, a third of which could be traced to livestock housing. Similarly, 81% of CH4 and 79% of N2O emissions in Switzerland originated from agriculture in 2014, with CH4 being primarily produced by enteric fermentation of ruminants and N2O mainly emitted by microbial activities in natural and fertilized soils.
Adverse effects of increased NH3 emissions on humans and ecosystems include the formation of smog, acidification of soils and freshwaters and increased productivity in forests, grasslands, and aquatic environments, which can lead to eutrophication and reduction in biodiversity. CH4 and N2O are both potent GHGs, exerting the second and fourth largest anthropogenic radiative forcing, respectively, among all gases. In addition, N2O is a source of reactive nitrogen in the stratosphere, which contributes to significant catalytic ozone destruction.
Given the importance of the agricultural sector in producing non-CO2 GHGs, one goal of the national Agricultural Climate Strategy is to reduce agriculture-based emissions of these gases by at least one-third in 2050, compared to 1990 levels In addition, according to the Swiss agricultural environmental targets, NH3 emissions must be reduced by approximately 40%. To effectively reduce NH3 and GHG emissions from livestock housing, structural process engineering and organisational measures as well as nutrition strategies must be developed and quantified for their reduction potential.
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EVS: Emissionsversuchsstall - Experimental dairy housing for quantifying methane and ammonia emission abatement strategies under entire herd conditions