Odour from Free-range Piggeries No Cause for Concern

AUSTRALIA - Pigs might not be the most pleasant smelling creatures, but University of Southern Queensland (USQ) researchers have found piggeries may not be as bad as people think.
calendar icon 8 October 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

USQ National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) researchers recently completed a study into the environmental impact of free-range piggeries and found the results were low compared to similar intensive livestock sources.

Three farms in Queensland, News South Wales and Victoria were monitored over two seasons (winter and summer) to survey noise levels as well as odour and dust concentrations.

Associate Professor Thomas Banhazi said pollution concerns have been acknowledged as a potential issue for the free-range pig industry, especially during the planning assessment process.

"Unfortunately, data to help the industry to assess the likely dust, odour and noise emissions from facilities have not been available in Australia," Associate Professor Banhazi said.

"This study was to determine if there is a problem and our results have shown these are not valid concerns."

Associate Professor Banhazi said he hopes the results will dispel the bad reputation of piggeries.

"We have concluded that free-range piggeries would not be a major source of noise, odour and dust pollution," he said.

"Odour was very low compared to mean emissions from similar intensive livestock sources; dust concentrations were very low with many of the peak concentrations not directly associated with pigs (but for example machinery movements); and noise levels were similar to a quiet suburban street.

"In fact, most noise was from wind, birds and insects.

"I’m confident that free-range piggeries would not be a major source of noise, odour and dust pollution – there’s nothing to kick up a stink about."

Industry group Australian Pork Limited (APL) funded the study and Janine Price (APL Manager Environment) said the dataset collected during this study is unique in Australia and will certainly help free-range pig producers to more readily obtain development approvals.

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