Manure-DNDC: A biogeochemical process model for quantifying greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from livestock manure systems

Changsheng Li, William Salas, Ruihong Zhang, Charley Krauter, Al Rotz, Frank Mitloehner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


From the point of view of biogeochemistry, manure is a complex of organic matter containing minor minerals. When manure is excreted by animals, it undergoes a series of reactions such as decomposition, hydrolysis, ammonia volatilization, nitrification, denitrification, fermentation etc., from which carbon dioxide (CO 2), nitrous oxide (N 2O), methane (CH 4) and ammonia (NH 3) can be produced. Based on the principles of thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, these reactions are commonly controlled by a group of environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, redox potential, pH, substrate concentration gradient etc. The relations among the environmental factors, the reactions and the gas production have been incorporated in a process-based model, Manure-DNDC, to describe manure organic matter turnover and gas emissions. Using Manure-DNDC, the users can construct a virtual farm by selecting and integrating one or more of the candidate farm facilities (i. e., feedlot, compost, lagoon, anaerobic digester and cropping field) parameterized in the model. Manure-DNDC calculates variations of the environmental factors for each component facility based on its technical specifications, and then utilizes the environmental factors to drive the biogeochemical reactions. To verify the applicability of Manure-DNDC for livestock farms, seven datasets of air emissions measured from farms across the U. S. plus a Scotland pasture were utilized for model tests with encouraging results. A dairy farm in New York was used to assess the impacts of alternative management practices on the gas mitigation. The modeled results showed that a combination of changes in the feed quality, the lagoon coverage and the planted crop type could reduce greenhouse gas emission by 30 % and NH 3 by 36 % at the farm scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-200
Number of pages38
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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