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The Effect of Air Quality Parameters on Poultry Broiler Performance

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131620424,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Gerard P Corkery, Shane Ward, Phil Hemmingway
Keywords:   Poultry air quality performance agriculture food energy environment.

Abstract. Increased fuel and feed prices are placing a significant burden on the poultry industry in Ireland and worldwide. For producers to meet their financial targets, increased performance and output is a key issue, now more than ever. To optimise performance in broiler production houses, the effect of environmental and air quality parameters on bird performance and energy consumption must be known to allow farmers make informed management decisions. This paper concentrates on the application of precision livestock farming sensors to develop recommendations for improved bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production farms in Ireland. Air temperature, relative humidity, light, air-speed and air quality parameters (particularly CO2 and NH3 concentrations) have been identified as important for improving bird performance and energy consumption in broiler production houses. Several of these parameters (temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and NH3) were monitored on two farms during this study over the initial 2 weeks of the production cycle. Air quality is often overlooked during the production process, as farmers struggle to limit high heating and feed costs. However, elevated levels of CO2 (>3000 ppm) measured in this study did not appear to affect broiler growth rates. Additionally, a strong correlation was observed between relative humidity and NH3 (R2=0.86-0.92). Producers tend to use relative humidity as an indication for NH3 levels and the research presented in this study confirms the close relationship between the two parameters. It is recommended that further data should be gathered from producing units and novel performance technologies should also be investigated.

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