Best Management Practices to Minimize Odors and Retain Nutrient Value of Animal Manure

Date:2013-08-07 19:31:23  From:  Author:


Dr. Robert Burns, Professor of Agricultural Engineering and Assistant Dean of Extension
University of Tennessee, USA

The release of odor and loss of nitrogen from animal manures occurs through gaseous emissions from animal production systems. Odor from animal manure can be composed of several hundred compounds, while manure nutrient loss is specific to nitrogen since there are no significant gaseous loss pathways for phosphorus or potassium. Gaseous emissions of both odor and nitrogenous compounds can be categorized as initiating from animal housing areas, manure storage systems and during land application of manures. Practices to minimize odors and retain nitrogen include animal housing and manure storage system design, ventilation management, exhaust air treatment, manure management and treatment and land application system type and management.  A combination of system design and management practices is typically the most effective approach to minimize odors from animal production systems. Similarly, a holistic approach combining specific system selection and management practices can be effectively used to reduce manure nitrogen loss in order to maximize manure nutrient value. Practices to reduce odor and retain nitrogen in animal manures must be considered as a system since some practices will provide positive results in one area and negative results in the other. This paper provides a review of current and promising best management practices for both animal manure odor and nitrogen management, and notes if the practice either complements or conflicts with the other goal. Broad approaches, such as system design options that minimize stored manure surface area and air exchange across stored manure to reduce both odor and nitrogen emissions are discussed. Specific manure treatment approaches, and exhaust air treatment systems are also reviewed. Finally manure land application methods to minimize odor and retain nutrient value are discussed.

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