story to find out more.
The research strategy at Ames is to formulate
swine diets that will lessen odor-causing compounds.
Swine Odor Researchers Target an Ill Wind
Pons August 3, 2006
Phenomena such as housing sprawl into farmland and the emergence of
large-scale livestock operations have made odor from swine-production
facilities a point of contention in many suburban and farming communities.
That's why the five researchers in the Agricultural Research Service
Odor and Manure Management Research Unit at Ames, Iowa, are trying to
tackle swine-manure odor at its source: inside the pig.
According to the unit's research leader, animal nutritionist
Kerr, the strategy at Ames is to formulate diets for the pigs that will
lessen odor-causing compounds. His unit evaluates how factors such as
nutrition, microbial ecology and pathogens affect how pigs excrete nutrients
and produce odiferous waste.
One way the scientists have found to control nitrogen-containing
compounds such as ammonia is to reduce the pigs protein intake by giving
them less soybean meal and balancing their diet with crystalline amino acids.
According to Kerr, research has shown that for each one percent reduction in
dietary crude protein intake, ammonia emissions are reduced by eight to 10
The unit is also exploring how sulfur-containing odorants may be
changed to lessen unpleasant smells from swine-production facilities.
Another tactic being examined is changing the type and amount of fiber
being fed to pigs. Kerr explained that pigs don't digest all of their dietary
fiber. Unit studies have found that metabolizing of this fiber leads to more
production of volatile fatty acids that help keep ammonia from being released
into the environment.
The units efforts comprise one of numerous programs led by
researchers with the ARS
Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames that are aimed at making agriculture more
environment-friendly. Carbon storage in soil, management strategies for soil
and water, and the quality of air around agricultural operations are among the
many environmental issues being addressed there.
about this research and other ARS projects related to a healthy environment in
the August 2006 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.