Iowa State researchers study livestock emissions

The researchers found that approximately 25 percent of odor and gaseous emissions mitigation practices make it to field trials. | File photo

Six researchers from Iowa State University recently completed a review of 265 academic papers on technologies that reduce odor and gaseous emissions from livestock and poultry farming, and found that those technologies rarely reach farm-scale study.

“The sort of solutions that make it to field testing are really just the tip of the pyramid,” ISU Associate Professor of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering Jacek Koziel, who was part of the research team, said. “We have to do a lot of lab work. If it works in the lab, we move into a pilot-scale study, and if it works there, we may try it on the farm. But most of the time, it doesn’t reach that point.”

The review, which consisted of papers published through the end of 2014, was possibly the most extensive undertaken to date. The researchers found that approximately 25 percent of odor and gaseous emissions mitigation practices make it to field trials, which Koziel speculates is sometimes due to both failures in the lab-testing phase, but also due to inadequate funding. Additionally, the study shows far more research is dedicated to swine operations. 

“If you sum up all the literature on poultry, dairy and beef cattle, it’s about equal to the body of literature published on air pollution mitigation technology for swine operations,” Koziel said.

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