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.
Researchers 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 Universitys 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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Page last updated October 5, 2004
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