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 AC0115: University of Nottingham methane research wins Blue Peter Badge  

A team of young researchers from the School of Biosciences appeared on Blue Peter to explain how much methane is produced by dairy cows.  The team was taking part in the BBC Energy Day hosted by Radio 5 Live outside the BBC studios in Salford. Matt Bell, Liz Homer and Ruth Wilcox spent the day demonstrating how they measure methane in the breath of cows while the cows are eating.  The live demonstration featured two Ayrshire cows that were extremely popular with the public. As well as Blue Peter, the work was featured by local radio and television and news programmes.  

 
   
AC0115: Green Feed method of measuring methane emissions  
Estimates CH4/CO2 emissions from cattle when they place their head inside a ventilated hood to access feed. A sensor identifies the animal and operates a dispenser, dropping feed over a prescribed interval (~5min) which keeps the animal in position whilst CH4/CO2 emissions are determined. The unit is operated remotely and controlled through the internet, including the number of visits/24 h each animal can make as well as the rate and timing of feed delivery.  Data are downloaded to C-Lock Inc. and daily CH4/CO2 emissions are calculated from accumulated readings  

 



  

 
   
AC0115: Use of the Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) technique for measuring methane emissions from ruminants  
An inert tracer gas released at a known rate from a permeation tube placed in the rumen. A sample of gas is collected constantly over 24 h from around the animals nostrils by a vacuum evacuated canister. CH4 and SF6 concentrations in the canister are determined by gas chromatography, and from these ratios CH4 emissions are calculated.  

 
   
AC0115: Use of Respiration Chambers to measure methane emissions  
Chambers measurement precisely measures the methane produced by an animal whilst resident in an enclosed chamber with a known airflow.  Incoming and exhaust air is analysed for methane and carbon-dioxide concentration along with temperature, pressure and humidity for calculation of methane production.  

 
   
   
Greenhouse Gas Platform 2nd Joint Projects Meeting 11-12th December 2012  

The second joint project meeting of the GHG Platform projects was held at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in Aberystwyth. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Platform teams to discuss issues of relevance to all of the project teams. Topics discussed included the data archive for the new inventory (currently being developed by the Centre for Environmental Data Archival and the Freshwater Biological Association), and early results from the ongoing project experiments, literature reviews and data-mining activities. Over 50 posters were presented on a variety of topics ranging from the effect of diet type on methane emissions to the efficacy of nitrification inhibitors to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, and results from the revised estimates of uncertainty within the current inventory On the day before the project teams came together for joint discussion, each individual project held their own meetings. These included meeting with representatives from the Welsh Government to discuss the structure of an improved inventory, early results from the disaggregation of national survey data for Wales, and gaps in farm activity data for Wales.

 



  



 

 
   
 Greenhouse Gas Platform Cross Platform Workshop 23rd May 2012  
A cross Platform workshop was held in May 2012, at which an overview of experimental approaches, early results from the methane and nitrous oxide literature reviews and the development of the inventory structure was presented.  The workshop also provided an opportunity for discussion and feedback on the work of the Platform projects to date.

       



       







 
 AC0115: Technical workshop 30-31st Jan 2012  
A workshop held in late January 2012 was hosted by SAC at the Roslin Institute and SAC's Easter Howgate farm to enable the sharing of information about technical aspects of the work being done as part of project AC0115.  Useful and open discussions took place regarding the various methods used to measure methane emissions, including the chamber designs used by the different organisations, the SF6 technique, and new and developing methods such as the LaserMethane detector, online monitoring systems in robotic milking machines and feed bins, and prototype portable sampling equipment.           
       
   
 Greenhouse Gas Platform 1st Joint Projects Meeting 10-11th Jan 2012  
This first cross Platform meeting, brought together researchers involved in the three GHG Platform projects (AC0114, AC0115 and AC0116). The primary aim of the meeting was to encourage between-project interaction among the researchers involved in the three projects and to provide a greater understanding of how their individual outputs will contribute to the improved inventory.  

     

 
   
 AC0115: Laboratory measurements at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, of the methane producing potential (Bo) of cattle manure  
Measurements of the methane producing potential (Bo) of excreta from different livestock types on defined diets are being made using a standard laboratory methodology at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke. Samples of the excreta (either faeces alone, or faeces and urine slurry) are incubated at 37.5°C for up to 90 days with a standard inoculum of methanogenic bacteria. The volume of methane gas produced during this incubation period is measured, after removal of carbon dioxide, and is related to the initial volatile solids content of the sample.  

  

 
     
 AC0114 National Statistics Workshop – York - December 2010  
Government statisticians from across the UK met with team members and stakeholders at a one day workshop to discuss the availability and linkage of national level statistics on agricultural practices and outputs to support an improved greenhouse gas calculation methodology. The discussion identified many important issues for the project, including a need to establish a robust typology of farm systems and the limited accuracy of national level data sets on farm practice and structure at regional scale. A full set of proceedings is available from the project download area.  Bridge at Foss Islands Road near Defra York  
     

AC0114 Inception Meeting – Wolverhampton – February 2011

 
Members of the project Expert Steering Group met with the Defra Secretariat at ADAS Wolverhampton to launch the project formally and begin the hard work. All the Work Package leaders reviewed project plans and we made the very important decision about the project logo whilst enjoying some donated chocolate cake  Members of the project Expert Steering Group  
     
AC0114 User Requirements Workshop – Birmingham – March 2011  
Agricultural industry and government policy advisors from the UK met with team members for a one day workshop to discuss proposals for the disaggregation of the UK industry by sector and farm systems for improved reporting and tracking of the changes in greenhouse gas emissions. The discussions considered each agricultural sector in turn and identified the many variants of farm systems and the key indicators that would be required to characterise them. A full set of proceedings is available from the project download area  Discussion at the User Requirements Workshop  
     
AC0115 Feed Intake Workshop – SAC – June 2011  
Knowledge of feed intake by animals is important for understanding methane emissions.  A workshop was held at Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) in June 2011 to discuss the use of feed intake assessment methods to ensure best practice is employed at all partner organisation sites.  

 
     
AC0115 SF6 Workshop - AFBI Hillsborough  
A course was run at AFBI Hillsborough to teach the other organisations in the project how to use the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) technique, for recording methane emissions from grazing animals. For this, a small tube of this non-toxic and inert gas is given to the animal, and the SF6 is released at a constant rate in minute quantities over the course of several months.  Collection of the animal’s breath and measurement of SF6 and methane concentrations in it allow the rate of methane emissions to be calculated.     
     
AC0115  Laser methane detector being used to measure CH4 emissions - June 2011  
Measuring methane is a difficult task, and in this project we are evaluating different tools that assess methane outputs from livestock. The Laser Methane detector is a hand-held device that can be used to measure methane at a distance. It uses a laser pointer to aim at a target and measures methane in a completely passive and safe manner. We can determine the concentration of methane in the breaths and belches from cattle and sheep as it is expelled from their bodies. Work is being done to evaluate the method and identify roles for this type of measurement on farms.    
     
AC0116 N2O chambers being sampled on winter wheat crop at Rosemaund, England (ADAS) - June 2011
Experimental field sites are being used to measure N2O emissions following fertiliser applications to grassland and arable land. The treatments include different fertiliser nitrogen forms (urea and ammonium nitrate), different rates of ammonium nitrate application, use of a nitrification inhibitor and different fertiliser timing strategies.  Nitrous oxide chambers being sampled on a winter wheat crop  
     
AC0116 Sampling the River Wesnum - June 2011  
Chris Adams (UEA) sampling the River Wensum in its upper reach, and the Wensum DTC monitoring station at Stinton Hall (Blackwater sub-catchment) which is also one of the AC0116 indirect N2O measurement points. UEA are relating in-stream nitrogen chemistry with indirect N2O emissions.  Sampling the River Wesnum  
     
AC0116 Sampling the headspace of static chambers at Woburn (Rothamsted Research)  
Air samples are taken from the headspace volume in the sealed chamber using a needle and syringe. The air samples are then stored in evacuated glass vials prior to analysis in the laboratory by Gas Chromatography (GC).

 
 Taking air samples from static chambers  
     

AC0114 Second Steering Group Meeting – AFBI Hillsborough – July 2011

 
   
Members of the AC0114 expert steering group met at AFBI Hillsborough to discuss the first six months of the project (called the prioritisation phase), and to put plans in place for the next six months of activity. The meeting also provided an opportunity for members of the AC0114 project team to visit the facilities at AFBI, and to see how SF6 equipment and chamber techniques are being used to measure methane emissions, within partner project AC0115.    
     
In a separate meeting, representatives from the AC0114 project team met with data holders from DARD, AFBI and the Livestock and Meat Commission, to discuss the potential use of Northern Ireland specific farm practice data, within the agricultural inventory.    
     

AC0114 / AC0116 - Workshop on Uncertainty and Data Management - 9th March, 2012

   
Members of the AC0114 and AC0116 teams met at SAC Edinburgh to discuss methods for reporting uncertainties associated with the measuring of nitrous oxide emissions, and to report on progress in developing a formal data model for documenting the field experiments and links between datasets.    
 
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