Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Summer 1998

Synthetic covers effective, affordable

by Tracy Petersen, extension communications

Synthetic covers are one of the most effective and affordable technologies to reduce odor from livestock operations. Synthetic covers reduce odors by providing a physical barrier between liquid manure and the air.

To be effective, the covers must be attached to prevent the wind from catching and whipping them, and they must cover as much of the storage structure as possible. Floating covers are the most popular, although it is possible to use a cover supported by cables above the stored liquid.

synthetic pit covers affect odorResearchers conducted scentometer evaluations on a pit before and after a synthetic cover was installed. In that evaluation, the cover greatly reduced the odor from the pit, Figure 1.

Synthetic covers, unlike biocovers, should last for several years. Iowa State University’s covers have been in place for eight years. The covers cost about $1 per square foot (40 cents for materials, and 60 cents for installation) of pit surface. Producers can reduce the cost by installing the covers themselves. Based on a 10- to 12-foot deep pit for finishing hogs, and an 8-year average life of the cover, the cost should range from 35 cents to 45 cents per head marketed.

Three cooperators are demonstrating biocovers as part of the Iowa Odor Control Demonstration Project. For more information, contact Jeff Lorimor, 515-294-9806.

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Iowa Manure Matters: Odor and Nutrient Management is published by Iowa State University Extension, with funding support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service through Cooperative Agreement No. 74-6114-8-22. To subscribe or change the address of a current subscription, write to Angela Rieck-Hinz, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011-1010 or call 515-294-9590, fax 515-294-9985 or email: amrieck@iastate.edu. Please indicate you are inquiring about the Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter. The newsletter's coordinators are Angela Rieck-Hinz, extension program specialist, Department of Agronomy, Wendy Powers, environmental extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, and Robert Burns, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; the editor is Jean McGuire, the subscription manager is Rachel Klein, the production designer is Beth Kroeschell, and the web page designer is Liisa Jarvinen.

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