Submitted to: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2011
Publication Date: 3/1/2012
Citation: Hernandez Ramirez, G., Trabue, S.L., Sauer, T.J., Pfeiffer, R.L., Tyndall, J. 2012. Odor mitigation with vegetative buffers: Swine production case study. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 149:154-163. Interpretive Summary: Shelterbelts are a potentially economical and sustainable odor mitigation strategy, but data on their mechanism and their effectiveness at lowering odor is lacking. This study demonstrated that previously held assumptions about shelterbelts lowering odor by lofting of odorous air at a swine facility were incorrect since the animal barns themselves had the greatest effect on wind flow patterns than the vegetative buffers. Shelterbelts were able to lower odor emissions immediately following the vegetative buffer, but its ability to sustain odor mitigation is questionable. More research is needed for greater understanding in how shelterbelt intercept and hold odorous material. The information presented in this paper is intended to be used by air quality specialist, engineers, animal scientists, and regulatory officials for development of odor mitigation strategies.
Technical Abstract: Vegetative environmental buffers (VEB) are a potentially low cost sustainable odor mitigation strategy, but there is little to no data supporting their effectiveness. Wind tunnel experiments and field monitoring were used to determine the effect VEB had on wind flow patterns within a swine facility. Particle and odorous compound concentrations were monitored before and after the VEB. Wind tunnel experiments indicated that building orientation had about the same impact on air flow patterns as the combined buildings and VEB. Field monitoring studies revealed that air flow patterns at a swine facility were dynamic showing intense instability during the heat of the day, but stable air in the evening hours indicating that air during the day was controlled by vertical movement into the atmosphere while in the evening air patterns show a collapse mostly horizontal movement. Total particle counts before and after the vegetative buffer were reduced by over 40% and odorous compound concentrations for volatile fatty acids, phenol and indole compounds were reduced by 40–60%. Plant material taken from trees in the vegetative buffer showed no significant loading gradients between materials facing the swine facility and those opposite the swine facility. There were significantly higher loadings of odorous VFAs, phenolic, and indole compounds on plant material for samples taken from 2.7 m compared to samples taken from either 0.6 or 1.3 m indicating that vertical transport was major transport mechanism for odor at the swine facility.