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Odor Control Methods Used By Iowa Pork Producers

by 5m Editor
30 May 2004, at 12:00am

By Iowa State University - Air and odor issues related to livestock production have received much attention recently and are a primary concern for pork producers. To establish baseline information about the odor control technologies used by producers, a survey was conducted in 2002.


In early August, 3,249 surveys were sent to pork producers and 562 were returned and usable. This report provides a summary of the types of odor control methods used by Iowa pork producers and the level of satisfaction with those methods.


Sixty-eight percent of the producers indicated that a deep pit was their primary manure storage system. About 20 percent said they had a solid or bedded manure storage system. Eighteen percent had an outdoor slurry pit system and 6 percent had an anaerobic lagoon (fi g. 1).

The distance from the main production facility to the nearest neighbor is critical in minimizing air quality impacts. Figure 2 shows that 70 percent of producers’ nearest neighbors live between 1/8 and 1/2 mile from the production facility. The closer the neighbor, the more important odor control efforts become.

Odor control technologies used and satisfaction

The technologies producers reported using to help reduce odors are divided into four groups:

  1. technologies associated with buildings,
  2. technologies associated with manure storage,
  3. feed modifications, and
  4. land application (table 1).
Producers who were using, or had used, each technology were asked whether they were satisfi ed, indifferent, or unsatisfi ed with that technology.

The four technologies that were the most popular with producers were: windbreaks (38% using and 64% satisfi ed); deep pit buildings (77% using and 77% satisfi ed); composting mortalities (50% using and 75% satisfi ed); and soil injection (69% using and 88% satisfied). Each of these technologies had a low number of producers discontinuing use: one percent for the fi rst two technologies and 6 and 7 percent for composting and injection, respectively.

Some technologies were well liked by the users but were not widely used or had a high dropout rate. Examples of these technologies are the bio-covers (chopped straw or chopped cornstalks) on outdoor pits used by 10 percent of the producers, of which 70 percent were satisfied. Sixteen percent of the producers quit using the bio-covers. Bedded manure systems were used by 36 percent of the respondents, of which 59 percent were satisfi ed and 16 percent quit. Aeration was used by 6 percent of the producers, 55 percent of whom were satisfi ed and 22 percent quit.

Producers also were dissatisfi ed with some of the technologies. Plastic covers, both permeable and impermeable, were tried by only 2 percent of producers. Among them, 33 percent were satisfi ed with the impermeable covers and 20 percent with the permeable.

Thirty-three percent were dissatisfi ed with the impermeable covers and 60 percent (greatest dissatisfaction of all the technologies) with the permeable plastic covers. Of those who had tried plastic covers, 67 percent using impermeable and 40 percent using permeable covers quit using them. Manure additives were used by 43 percent of producers: only 23 percent were satisfi ed and 54 percent quit using them.

Methods used by producers to improve neighbor relations

Producers were asked what else they do to maintain good neighbor relations. Their responses were classifi ed into these categories. Weather (rain, wind, and temp) Thirty-one percent indicated applying manure after, before, or during one or more weather condition.

Communications/neighbor relations/respect

Thirty percent interacted with their neighbors or their community to determine suggestions and provide community involvement and friendly interactions with neighbors. Landscaping upkeep of facility and area Sixteen percent try to improve the appearance of their facilities.

Timing of application

Fifteen percent attempt to spread or avoid spreading during certain times such as avoiding holidays, neighbor gatherings, or weekends.

Give pork/gift/manure

Twelve percent provide a gift or service to neighbors. This ranged from gifts of pork to moving snow to providing manure. Location of facility and where applied Eleven percent tried to place or avoid placing facilities and manure in certain areas. This ranged from facility placement to avoiding traveling along highways with manure. Limit exposure/number of applications Seven percent tried to limit the exposure of neighbors to manure or carcasses. This included everything from the number of applications to volume applied to applying as rapidly as possible.

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Source: Iowa State University - May 2004