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See detailReview on greenhouse gas emissions from pig houses: Production of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide by animals and manure
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Nicks, Baudouin ULg

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2015)

The environmental impacts of livestock production are attracting increasing attention, especially the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Currently, pork is the most widely consumed meat product in the ... [more ▼]

The environmental impacts of livestock production are attracting increasing attention, especially the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Currently, pork is the most widely consumed meat product in the world, and its production is expected to grow in the next few decades. This paper deals with the production of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) by animals and by manure from pig buildings, with a focus on the influence of rearing techniques and nutrition. GHG emissions in piggeries originate from animals through CO2 exhalation and CH4 enteric fermentation, and from manure through the release of CO2, CH4 and N2O. The level of the CO2 exhalation (E-CO2, pig) depends on the physiological stage, the body weight (BW), the production level and the feed intake of the animals concerned. Enteric CH4 (E-CH4, pig) is principally related to dietary fibre intake and the fermentative capacity of the pig’s hindgut. Based on a review of the literature, the following equations are proposed in order to estimate E-CO2, pig (in kg day_1) and E-CH4,pig (in g day_1) for fattening pigs: E-CO2, pig = 0.136 _ BW0.573; E-CH4,pig = 0.012 _ dRes; with BW (in kg) and dRes for digestible residues (in g day_1). Numerous pathways are responsible for GHG production in manure. In addition, the microbial, physical and chemical properties of manure interact and modulate the level of emissions. Influencing factors for removal systems for both liquid and solid fractions of manure have been investigated. A large range of parameters showing an impact on the level of GHG production from pig houses has been reported. However, few of these can be considered unquestionably as GHG mitigation techniques because some strategies have shown contradictory effects depending on the gas, the circumstances and the study. Nevertheless, frequent manure removal seems to be an efficient means to reduce concurrently CO2-, CH4- and N2O-emissions from pig buildings for both slatted and bedded floor systems. Manure removal operations may be associated with specific storage conditions and efficient treatment in order to further reduce emissions. Several feeding strategies have been tested to decrease GHG emissions but they seem to be ineffective in reducing emissions both significantly and durably. In general, good management practices that enhance zootechnical performance will have beneficial consequences on GHG emission intensity. Taking into account the results described in the literature regarding CO2-, CH4- and N2O-production from animals and manure in pig houses, we estimate total GHG emissions to 448.3 kg CO2equiv. per slaughter pig produced or 4.87 kg CO2equiv. per kg carcass. The fattening period accounts for more than 70% of total emissions, while the gestation, lactation and weaning periods each contribute to about 10% of total emissions. Emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O contribute to 81, 17 and 2% of total emissions from pig buildings, representing 3.87, 0.83 and 0.11 kg CO2equiv. per kg carcass, respectively. [less ▲]

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See detailFifty years of contrasted residue management of an agricultural crop: impacts on the soil carbon budget and on heterotrophic respiration.
Buysse, Pauline ULg; Roisin, Christian; Aubinet, Marc ULg

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2013), 167

Crop management exerts a strong influence on the soil carbon (C) balance. This study investigated a long-term experiment initiated in 1959 at a site in the Hesbaye region of Belgium and focused on three ... [more ▼]

Crop management exerts a strong influence on the soil carbon (C) balance. This study investigated a long-term experiment initiated in 1959 at a site in the Hesbaye region of Belgium and focused on three contrasted treatments: residue export (RE), farmyard manure (FYM) addition and residue restitution (RR) after harvest. The objectives were to quantify the components of the C budget of croplands from a 50-year perspective and to identify the impact of the treatments on this budget and soil C sequestration, given the relatively low levels of esidue application. The soil C budget was calculated for each treatment on the basis of total soil organic C (SOC) content measurements and C input data collected since the experiment had begun and drawn from the literature. To evaluate the robustness of this approach, the budget-based output estimates were compared with annual heterotrophic respiration (HR) averages extrapolated from seasonal field HR measurements carried out at the same experimental site in 2010. The soil C budgetbased output estimates accorded well with field-based HR measurements and with most HR estimates in the literature, suggesting that, despite the many uncertainties affecting the soil C budget, these results were robust. The three treatments investigated in this study had different impacts on SOC stocks, mainly during the first 20 years of the experiment. RE and FYM caused significant SOC decreases (on average, −7 ± 5 g C m−2 year−1 over the 50 years) and increases (10 ± 5 g C m−2 year−1), espectively, whereas RR had no significant impact on the SOC stocks. The study also showed (i) the very large part (about twothirds of the total input) that represented the below-ground input, weeds and other left-over residues in the C budget, (ii) the important role probably played by residue quality in C sequestration and (iii) the large proportion of C lost annually rom the soil (which represents 93–98, 100 and 102–107% of the amounts of fresh residue rought to the soil each year in the FYM, RR and RE treatments, respectively). [less ▲]

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See detailAmmonia and greenhouse gas emissions during the fattening of pigs kept on two types of straw floor
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Laitat, Martine ULg; Nicks, Baudouin ULg et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2012), 150

Pig production is an important contributor to polluting gases emissions like ammonia (NH3) and greenhouse gases (GHG). Apart from environmental aspects, animal welfare is also an issue of growing ... [more ▼]

Pig production is an important contributor to polluting gases emissions like ammonia (NH3) and greenhouse gases (GHG). Apart from environmental aspects, animal welfare is also an issue of growing importance. The fattening of pigs on deep litter bedded system is consider as more animal friendly than the fattening on slatted floor, but it is also more expensive and requests more labour. The use of straw flow rather than straw deep litter could be a good compromise because of a reduced need for surface area, straw, labour and manure storage, combined with satisfying animal welfare. In order to evaluate the environmental impact of this rearing technique, a study was designed to quantify pollutant gas emissions of this system compared to the deep litter system for fattening pigs. Three successive batches of 32 Landrace fattening pigs were used. They were divided into 2 homogeneous groups of 16 animals randomly allocated to two treatments: straw deep litter or straw flow. The groups were kept simultaneously for a period of 4 months and separately in two identical rooms in volume (103 m3) and surface (30.2 m2) and fitted either with a deep litter pen (1.2 m2/pig) or with a straw flow system (0.75 m2/pig). Throughout the fattening period, 46.9 and 34.4 kg straw were used respectively per pig. In deep litter pen, the litter was removed after each batch. In the straw flow pen, the straw, mixed with dung, travelled down the slope by pig motion and went out of the pen to a scraped passage. The solid fraction was scraped every day, stored in a heap in the room and removed every month, 1 week before each period of gaseous emission measurement. The liquid fraction was automatically pumped from the scraped passage into a hermetic tank, which was emptied at the end of each fattening period. In both rooms, ventilation was automatically adapted to maintain a constant ambient temperature. Once a month, the emissions of ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water vapour (H2O) were measured continuously for 6 consecutive days by infra-red photoacoustic detection. Animal performance (final body weight, body weight gain, and feed conversion ratio), some carcass quality parameters and manure characteristics were not significantly affected by floor type. With fattening pigs kept in a straw flow pen, gaseous emissions were significantly greater (P < 0.05) for NH3 (+10%) and significantly lower (P < 0.001) for N2O (−55%), CH4 (−46%), CO2 equivalents (−47%), CO2 (−10%) and H2O (−23%) compared to pigs housed on straw-based deep litter. Thus, the use of straw flow system for pig fattening allows reducing the GHG emissions but presents the disadvantage of increasing the NH3 emissions. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of carbon fluxes, growth and productivity of a winter wheat crop in three contrasting growing seasons
Dufranne, Delphine ULg; Moureaux, Christine ULg; Vancutsem, Françoise ULg et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2011), 141

Three winter wheat growing seasons were compared in order to analyse crop development, CO2 fluxes and inter-annual variability in productivity. Crop development monitoring, leaf scale measurements and ... [more ▼]

Three winter wheat growing seasons were compared in order to analyse crop development, CO2 fluxes and inter-annual variability in productivity. Crop development monitoring, leaf scale measurements and continuous eddy-covariance measurements were conducted in a production crop at the Lonzée experimental site in Belgium. The 3 years were characterised by similar soil proprieties (same site), similar management (sowing, harvesting, plant protection and nitrogen application, adhering to regional standards), and the use of recommended cultivars (the most productive ones for this region). The comparison of carbon fluxes, growth and productivity in the three growing seasons highlighted mechanisms affected by meteorological conditions and, in some cases, modulated by a cultivar effect. In particular, it was shown that (a) precociousness or lateness in stage development was triggered mainly by cumulated temperature during winter and early spring; (b) early development in one season could explain the larger ecosystem net carbon sequestration that year, but had no impact on grain yield; (c) low grain yield in one season was the result of a complex mechanism including drought in early spring, which hindered flag leaf development, and moist conditions in late spring, which restrained radiation and favoured the development of fungal diseases. In all cases, it was found that grain yield could not be related to gross primary productivity or net ecosystem exchange, suggesting that reallocation and translocation processes play a substantial role in grain filling. [less ▲]

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See detailAmmonia emissions from pig houses: Influencing factors and mitigation techniques
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Cabaraux, Jean-François ULg; Nicks, Baudouin ULg

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2011), 141(3-4), 245-260

Pig houses are important sources of ammonia (NH3) emissions. For decades, investigations were carried out in determine the influencing factors and to point out opportunities of mitigation. In Europe ... [more ▼]

Pig houses are important sources of ammonia (NH3) emissions. For decades, investigations were carried out in determine the influencing factors and to point out opportunities of mitigation. In Europe, current NH3 emissions associated to pig production are about 24% lower than in 1990. However, further reduction seems necessary to avoid noxious effects on ecosystems. The main factors influencing NH3 production are the floor type, the manure removal system, the climatic conditions inside the building, the diet composition and the feed efficiency of animals. In pig production, the main floor types are the slatted floor and the bedded floor systems. In both systems, numerous variants and adaptations can be found with consequently a range of emission levels for each housing condition. Therefore, decision in favour of a floor type as regards NH3 emissions is difficult, especially as effective reducing strategies are available for both systems. For litter-based systems, the nature and the amount of substrate greatly influence the NH3 production with usually lower emission in case of generous bedding. For slatted floor systems, most of the studies resulted in lower emissions with partly slatted floor on condition that the solid part of the floor remains clean. Indeed, hot conditions, high animal density or inadequate pen design can increase the soiling of the solid floor and lead to increased NH3 emissions. In any case, emissions are lower if concrete slats are replaced by smooth materials like iron cast, metal or plastic slats. Several slurry pit designs and manure removal strategies were developed to mitigate emissions. The reduction of the slurry pit surface thanks to sloped pit walls are related to proportional reductions of NH3 emissions. Frequent manure removal, flushing and separating urine from faeces by V-shaped scraper or conveyor belts reduce the NH3 releases from the buildings by about 50%. However, the emissions during the storage period outside the building have to be taken into account for a whole assessment of the technique. Climate conditions inside the building also influence the emissions which are positively correlated with ambient temperature and ventilation rate. Consequently, ammonia emissions present seasonal and nychtemeral patterns. But, reducing the NH3 production by modulation of the climate conditions is rather unpractical because the ambient parameters must primarily respect the bioclimatic requirements for animal comfort. A closer match between dietary intakes and requirement of the pigs according to the physiological and growth stage results in lower NH3 emissions. In this way, diets with reduced crude protein content are highly effective in reducing the emissions with almost a 10% reduction for every 10 g kg−1 reduction in dietary crude protein. Other dietary strategies are also effective in lowering emissions. Dietary fibre inclusion reduces NH3 emissions by about 40% by shifting the nitrogen from urine to faeces due to promotion of bacterial growth in the large intestine. Lowering the dietary electrolyte balance or supplementation with acidifying salts like benzoic acid or CaSO4 are related to significant reductions. Other feed additives like Yucca extract, zeolites, probiotics, humic substance or lactose were also validated by several experiments. Moreover, better feed efficiency obtained by genetic selection or modification of the hormonal status of the pigs is also related to reduced emissions. In conclusion, effective reduction of ammonia emissions from pig buildings can be reached operating both on housing conditions and feeding strategies. The former are very efficient but the assessment has to include the specificity of each system and involve the complete process. In some cases, investment and cost operating can hamper their development. Feeding strategies offer the advantage of being easy to implement and rapid to adapt function of particular circumstances. [less ▲]

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See detailAmmonia and greenhouse gas emission from group-housed gestating sows depends on floor type
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Laitat, Martine ULg; Wavreille, José et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2011), 140

The ban by 2013 in the EU of individual accommodations for gestating sows and the renewed interest for litter systems could promote in the future the group-housing of gestating sows on litter. But what ... [more ▼]

The ban by 2013 in the EU of individual accommodations for gestating sows and the renewed interest for litter systems could promote in the future the group-housing of gestating sows on litter. But what are the environmental impacts of this rearing technique? To answer this question, a study was scheduled to quantify pollutant gas emissions (nitrous oxide -N2O-, methane -CH4-, carbon dioxide -CO2- and ammonia -NH3-) according to floor type in the raising of group-housed gestating sows. The trial was carried out in experimental rooms located at Liège University (Belgium). Three successive batches of 10 gestating sows were used for this trial. Each batch was divided into 2 homogeneous groups randomly allocated to one of two treatments: concrete slatted floor or straw-based deep litter. The groups were kept separately in two identical rooms equipped with a pen divided into a lying area (slatted floor or deep litter) and five individual feeding stalls. The feeding stalls were equipped with front feeding troughs and rear gates preventing access to the stalls outside of the feeding time. Between each batch of sows, the pens were cleaned. In both rooms, ventilation was automatically adapted to maintain a constant ambient temperature. The gas emissions were measured 3 times (weeks 2, 5 and 8 of stay) during 6 consecutive days by infra red photoacoustic detection. Sow performance (body weight gain, backfat thickness, number and weight of piglets) was not significantly affected by floor type. With sows kept on slatted floor, gaseous emissions were significantly greater for NH3 (12.77 vs. 9.05 g d-1 sow-1; P<0.001) and CH4 (10.12 vs. 9.20 g d-1 sow-1; P<0.01), and significantly lower for N2O (0.47 vs. 2.27 g d-1 sow-1; P<0.001), CO2 equivalents (0.44 vs. 0.94 kg d-1 sow-1; P<0.001) and CO2 (2.41 vs. 2.83 kg d-1 sow-1; P<0.001) compared to sows housed on straw-based deep litter. There was no significant difference for water vapour emissions (3.25 vs. 3.21 kg d-1 sow-1; P>0.05). In conclusion, the main environmental disadvantage of the deep litter system pointed to in this study was the greater N2O-emissions and thus greater CO2eq-emissions compared to slatted floor. However, the use of deep litter was related to reduced NH3- and CH4-emissions. [less ▲]

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See detailMeasurements necessary for assessing the net ecosystem carbon budget of croplands
Smith, Pete; Lanigan, Gary; Kutsch, Werner L. et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139(3), 302-315

There are a number of methods that can be used to help assess carbon budgets at the site to continental scales. Eddy covariance (EC) networks have been developed over the last decade and have been used to ... [more ▼]

There are a number of methods that can be used to help assess carbon budgets at the site to continental scales. Eddy covariance (EC) networks have been developed over the last decade and have been used to make many advances in our understanding. However, eddy covariance measurements of CO2 and water vapour exchanges quantify the fluxes only on short time scales, but do not assess the impacts of long-term processes that contribute to biogeochemical cycling in croplands, such as harvest or residue removal and other management practices, so many other supplementary measurements are required to attribute different components of the carbon flux. Such methods include isotope studies, chamber flux measurements of C and other greenhouse gases, inventories of above- and below-ground biomass as well as management in- and outputs, book-keeping modelling, process modelling, experimental manipulation and earth observation (e.g. remote sensing). In this review, we summarise the component fluxes that make up the total cropland carbon budget, describe the key fluxes and methods used to estimate them, and examine how they need to be integrated to obtain the net ecosystem carbon budget of European croplands. We describe the uncertainties and difficulties inherent at each stage and how these can be minimised. [less ▲]

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See detailThe carbon balance of European croplands: A cross-site comparison of simulation models
Wattenbach, Martin; Sus, Olivier; Vuichard, Nicolas et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139(3), 419-453

Croplands cover approximately 45% of Europe and play an important role in the overall carbon budget of the continent. However, the estimation of their carbon balance remains uncertain due to the diversity ... [more ▼]

Croplands cover approximately 45% of Europe and play an important role in the overall carbon budget of the continent. However, the estimation of their carbon balance remains uncertain due to the diversity of crops and cropping systems together with the strong influence of human management. Here, we present a multi-site model comparison for four cropland ecosystem models namely theDNDC,ORCHIDEESTICS, CERES-EGC and SPA models. We compare the accuracy of the models in predicting net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco) as well as actual evapotranspiration (ETa) for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and maize (Zea mays L.) derived from eddy covariance measurements on five sites along a gradient of climatic conditions from eastern to southwesterly Europe. The models are all able to simulate daily GPP. The simulation results for daily ETa and Reco are, however, less accurate. The resulting simulation of daily NEE is adequate except in some cases where models fail due to a lack in phase and amplitude alignment. ORCHIDEE-STICS and PAshowthe best performance. Nevertheless, they are not able to simulate full crop rotations or the multiple management practices used. CERES-EGC, and especially DNDC, although exhibiting a lower level of model accuracy, are able to simulate such conditions, resulting in more accurate simulation of annual cumulative NEE. [less ▲]

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See detailVariability in carbon exchange of European croplands
Moors, E. J.; Jacobs, C.; Jans, W. et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139

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See detailThe net biome production of full crop rotations in Europe
Kutsch, W. L.; Aubinet, Marc ULg; Buchmann, N. et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139

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See detailManagement effects on net ecosystem carbon and GHG budgets at European crop sites
Ceschia, E.; Beziat, P.; Dejoux, J. F. et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139

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See detailManagement effects on European cropland respiration
Eugster, W.; Moffat, A. M.; Ceschia, E. et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2010), 139

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See detailGaseous emissions from weaned pigs raised on different floor systems
Cabaraux, Jean-François ULg; Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Laitat, Martine ULg et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2009), 130

Gaseous emissions from agriculture contribute to a number of environmental effects. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are greenhouse gases taking part to the global problem of ... [more ▼]

Gaseous emissions from agriculture contribute to a number of environmental effects. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are greenhouse gases taking part to the global problem of climate change. Ammonia (NH3) emissions are responsible of soil acidification and eutrophication and contribute also to indirect emissions of N2O. This work evaluated the influence of the type of floor on the emissions of these gases in the raising of weaned pigs. Two trials were carried out. In the first trial, the animals were kept either on fully slatted floor or on straw-based deep litter and, in the second one, either on fully slatted floor or on sawdust-based deep litter. For each trial and on each type of floor, 2 successive batches of weaned pigs were raised without changing the litter or emptying the slurry pit between the 2 batches. The rooms were automatically ventilated to maintain a constant ambient temperature. The performance of the animals was not significantly different according to the floor type. In trial 1, the nitrogen contents of the straw deep litter (including the substrate) and slurry were respectively 276 and 389 g pig-1. In trial 2, the sawdust deep litter and slurry nitrogen contents were respectively 122 and 318 g pig-1. Raising pigs on straw deep litter produced proportionately around 100% more NH3 than raising pigs on slatted floor (0.61 vs. 0.31 g NH3-N d-1 per pig; P<0.05). Differences in CO2, H2O and CH4 emissions were not significant between systems. Raising pigs on sawdust deep litter produced also proportionately more NH3 (+52%; 0.55 vs. 0.36 g NH3-N d-1 per pig; P<0.01) but also more CO2 (+25%; 427 vs. 341 g d-1 per pig; P<0.001) and H2O (+65%; 981 vs. 593 g d-1 per pig; P<0.001) and less CH4 (-40%; 0.52 vs. 0.86 g d-1 per pig; P<0.001) than raising pigs on slatted floor. Practically no N2O emission was observed from rooms with slatted floor while the N2O emissions were 0.03 and 0.32 g N2O-N d-1 per pig for the straw and sawdust deep litter respectively. The warming potential of the greenhouse gases (N2O + CH4), were about 22, 34 and 168 g CO2 equivalents per day and per pig on fully slatted floor, straw or sawdust deep litter respectively. In conclusion, pollutant gas emissions from rearing of weaned pig seem lower with fully slatted plastic floor system than with deep litter systems [less ▲]

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See detailGaseous emissions from group-housed gestating sows kept on deep litter and offered an ad libitum high-fibre diet
Philippe, François-Xavier ULg; Canart, Bernard; Laitat, Martine ULg et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2009), 132

Gaseous emissions from agriculture contribute to a number of environmental effects. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are greenhouse gases taking part in the global problem of ... [more ▼]

Gaseous emissions from agriculture contribute to a number of environmental effects. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are greenhouse gases taking part in the global problem of climate change. Ammonia (NH3) emissions are responsible of soil and water acidification and eutrophication and contribute also to indirect emissions of N2O. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a high-fibre diet offered ad libitum to gestating sows on gaseous emissions (NH3, N2O, CH4, CO2 and water vapour (H2O)). Four successive batches of 10 gestating sows were used for this trial. Each batch was divided into 2 homogeneous groups randomly allocated to a treatment: restricted conventional cereals based diet or high-fibre diet based on sugar beet pulp (42%). The groups were separately kept in two identical rooms equipped with a straw-bedded pen of 12.6 m². For restricted sows, meals were provided once a day in individual feeding stalls available only during the feeding time. In both rooms, ventilation was automatically adapted to maintain a constant ambient temperature. The gas emissions were measured by infrared photoacoustic detection during 6 consecutive days at the 6th, 9th and 12th weeks of gestation. Sows performance (body weight gain, backfat thickness, number and weight of piglets) was not significantly different according to the diet. With sows offered high-fibre diet and compared to sows offered restricted diet, gaseous emissions were significantly greater for NH3 (9.64 g NH3-N d-1 sow-1 vs. 5.37 g NH3-N d-1 sow-1; P < 0.001), CH4 (17.20 g d-1 sow-1 vs. 15.21 g d-1 sow-1; P < 0.01), CO2 (3.00 kg d-1 sow-1 vs. 2.41 kg d-1 sow-1; P < 0.001) and H2O (4.71 kg d-1 sow-1 vs. 3.68 kg d-1 sow-1; P < 0.001) and significantly lower for N2O (0.97 g N2O-N d-1 sow-1 vs. 2.48 g N2O-N d-1 sow-1; P < 0.001) and CO2 equivalents (0.88 kg d-1 sow-1 vs. 1.55 kg d-1 sow-1; P < 0.001). In conclusion, the effects of high-fibre diet offered to gestating sows on deep litter on environment seem ambiguous with an increase of NH3 emissions but a decrease of N2O and CO2 equivalent emissions. [less ▲]

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