story to find out more.
Philip Moore (right) has spent the last 14 years trying to reduce environmental
burdens associated with animal waste. Here, Moore and technician Scott Becton
collect runoff water samples from a long-term study to measure phosphorus
runoff from alum-treated poultry litter. Click the image for more
information about it.
A Breath of Fresh Air for Pig and Dairy
Farms By Erin
Peabody November 6, 2006
Animal-rearing facilities may soon be taking a cue from human hygiene.
An Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientist in Fayetteville, Ark., has found that aluminum chloridea common
ingredient in deodorant stickshelps minimize the nose-prickling vapors
that tend to concentrate in and around swine and dairy facilities.
The compound, as soil scientist
A. Moore, Jr., discovered, can also significantly slash troubling ammonia
emissions that are typically generated when hundreds of farm animals are raised
under one roof.
Moore, who works in the ARS
Production and Product Safety Research Unit in Fayetteville, has spent the
last 14 years trying to reduce the environmental burdens associated with animal
waste, including poultry litter.
Manure from poultry, dairy and swine facilities serves as valuable
fertilizer for farmers' fields. But only if it's applied in the right dosage.
Too much phosphorus-rich waste can foul water supplies and wreck fragile marine
In response to concerns about phosphorus pollution and chicken houses,
Moore first discovered the power of aluminum, in the form of aluminum sulfate
(or alum), in 1992. Alum grabs onto the phosphate in poultry waste, keeping it
from escaping into waterways. It also reduces the buildup of ammonia gas in
Because of Moore's research, almost 700 million chickens are raised
each year in the United States using alum.
More recently, the researcher found an even better aluminum performer
for treating the liquid manure associated with pigs and dairy cows: aluminum
Unlike alum, this compound doesn't generate smelly, sulfuric gasses
when applied to liquid waste. And aluminum chloride can impressivelyand
cost-effectivelyreduce phosphorus runoff and atmospheric ammonia levels
in animal facilities.
That's significant, since high atmospheric ammonia levels threaten the
respiratory health of both animals and farm workers. They also negatively
affect water quality by increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition.
about the research in the November/December 2006 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.