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Improving Air Quality for Animals and Humans with Renewable Energy and Nutrient Conservation

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

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-071)
Authors:   John A George, Richard P Mattocks, Mark Moser, John Paul Smith, Rick Thomas
Keywords:   air quality, ammonia, anaerobic digestion, animal housing, animal welfare, carbon footprint, covered lagoon digesters, emissions, foam, hydrogen sulfide, manure storage, methane explosion, sustainability.

Abstract. Pork production began the transition from outdoor and open housing to indoor-housing in the U.S. over five decades ago. Housed production systems provide for more controlled feeding, watering, and penning, but the development of proper ventilation and manure management were challenging at the outset. Slotted flooring became the norm to separate the pigs from their manure and maintain a favorable level of sanitation, but manure storage under the buildings made air quality challenging for the animals and caretakers. Systems for routine and automatic flushing of manure from the buildings to outdoor treatment and storage soon evolved and were adopted broadly, yielding significant improvement in the indoor environment. However, more extensive environmental regulation of pork production in the late 1980‘s and the 1990‘s began challenging the use of outdoor manure and wastewater storage in major production regions. Environmental permitting and public perception have subsequently driven much of pork production to accepting under-floor manure and wastewater storage again, with its negative impacts on indoor air quality, animal health, human health and working conditions. While ventilation system design and function is focused on removing as much of the manure odors and gases from under the floor as possible, much of current pork production occurs with the pigs and caretakers in the manure storage airspace.

This article draws on the collaborative talents and experience of the authors to encourage dialogue shifting the paradigm in support of improved production environments and sustainability, while eliminating the negative impacts and risks of manure storage inside the production space.

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