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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305385

Title: Particulate matter concentrations for mono-slope beef cattle facilities in the Northern Great Plains

item Spiehs, Mindy
item CORTUS, ERIN - South Dakota State University
item Holt, Gregory
item KOHL, KRIS - Iowa State University
item DORAN, BETH - Iowa State University
item AYADI, FEROUZ - South Dakota State University
item CORTUS, SCOTT - South Dakota State University
item AL MAMUN, MD RAJIBUL - South Dakota State University
item POHL, STEPHEN - South Dakota State University
item NICOLAI, RICHARD - South Dakota State University
item STOWELL, RICHARD - University Of Nebraska
item PARKER, DAVID - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2014
Publication Date: 1/5/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Spiehs, M.J., Cortus, E.L., Holt, G.A., Kohl, K.D., Doran, B.E., Ayadi, F.Y., Cortus, S.D., Al Mamun, M.R., Pohl, S., Nicolai, R., Stowell, R., Parker, D.B. 2015. Particulate matter concentrations for mono-slope beef cattle facilities in the Northern Great Plains. Transactions of the ASABE. 57(6):1831-1837.

Interpretive Summary: Beef producers in the Northern Great Plains are starting to raise cattle in mono-slope beef confinement facilities. In these facilities, producers add bedding in order to keep the pens dry and the animals comfortable. Typically, producers add fresh bedding once or twice weekly. Some producers remove manure from the edges of the pen, but allow the manure and bedding in the center of the pen to accumulate and form a mound in the pen, known as a pack. The pack remains in the pen until the cattle are marketed. Other producers remove all bedding and manure from the pens weekly; this is called a scrape system. When producers add bedding to the pens, they grind or chop a bale of bedding, producing substantial dust during the process. This study was conducted to measure dust in beef cattle confinement barns. The results showed significantly higher concentrations of dust when bedding is being added to the pen compared to non-bedding hours of routine operation. Once the bedding process is complete, the dust quickly clears the building. During routine operation, the concentration of dust in barns using a scrape system or a pack system are less than beef open lot feedlots and dairy free stall barns. Dust increased as the ambient air temperature increased and as the animals grew larger.

Technical Abstract: Confined cattle facilities are an increasingly common housing system in the Northern Great Plains region of the United States. Producers may maintain a deep-bedded manure pack (Pack), they may remove all bedding/manure material from the pens weekly (Scrape), or use a combination of management styles. The objectives of this study were to determine baseline particulate matter (PM) concentrations around the barn perimeter, and to identify relationships between management practices and PM concentrations. Particulate matter was measured over two five-day periods at one Pack barn to determine differences in PM concentration between routine operation and bedding events. Each five-day period included three 24-h periods of routine operation and two 3-h periods associated with a bedding event. Concentration of total suspended particulates (TSP) in the Pack barn for days of routine operation was 58.6 ± 3.9 µg/m3 and concentration of TSP during three-hour bedding events was 702.2 ± 3.9 µg/m3. Concentrations of PM less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and PM less than 10 microns (PM10) were 4.9 ± 3.0 and 17.5 ± 12.1 µg/m3, respectively, during routine operation, and 29.7 ± 4.6 and 141.7 ± 18.9 µg/m3, respectively, during a 3-hr bedding event. In two Scrape barns, 24-h collections of PM10 and PM2.5 occurred at least twice during each quarter for 14 months. Daily mean concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 in Scrape barns ranged from 10 – 14 µg/m3and 25 – 28 µg/m3, respectively, indicating relatively low PM concentrations from mono-slope beef facilities. Particulate matter was affected by air temperature.