Odor and Hog Control
Insects control with natural pesticides and organic products
Methane, Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide -
Generally, gases and odors produced in close confinement hog facilities are the result of bacterial action on biodegradable parts of hog waste. Gases produced in greatest volume are methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide
There is also a complicated group of volatile organic substances that contribute to the odor. These substances include amines, mercaptans, alcohols, carbonyls and sulfides in trace amounts
Methane, the gas produced in greatest volume during the decomposition process, results from organic acids being degraded. This gas usually escapes to the atmosphere and is a potential air pollutant
Carbon dioxide is the second most abundant gas produced as organic acids are degraded. Because it is odorless, the pollution potential of this gas is often overlooked
Ammonia is released as amino acids in protein are broken down by bacteria. This gas is easily recognized because of its pungent odor
Hydrogen sulfide is also a part of the odor. Anaerobic reduction of sulfur-containing compounds such as certain amino acids result in formation of hydrogen sulfide. This gas has a very offensive odor.
Properties and effects of noxious gases -
Methane is colorless, odorless and lighter than air and is formed by a highly specialized group of bacteria. Generally, conditions found in close confinement hog facilities are not conducive to producing significant amounts of methane. Methane has an explosive characteristic and an asphyxiating effect
Carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless and heavier than air. It normally makes up 30 to 60 percent of the gas resulting from decomposition of hog manure. Generally, concentrations of carbon dioxide greater than 4 percent are cause for concern for both humans and livestock
Ammonia is a colorless gas, that makes up a very small percentage of the gases produced during decomposition of animal manure. It is easily recognized by its pungent odor. Ammonia concentrations greater than 0.01 percent in a confinement building are likely to cause considerable discomfort to both humans and animals. Ammonia is highly soluble in water, therefore its presence usually is less noticeable where liquid manure systems are used rather than solid floors
Hydrogen sulfide is colorless, and has the characteristic "rotten egg" smell. It is given off in relatively small quantities during decomposition of hog manure. Hydrogen sulfide is the most toxic of manure gases. Concentrations of this gas greater than 0.001 percent cause considerable discomfort to humans and livestock. Levels greater than 0.05 percent are likely to be lethal.

Potentially lethal conditions

Under normal conditions, there is little likelihood of noxious gas levels rising to critical concentrations in a well-designed confinement facility. However, there are circumstances in which gas levels can become critically high, even when the facility is properly designed
Ventilation breakdown is most often the cause of critically high gas levels in confinement facilities. If fresh air in a confinement facility is not replenished due to power failure, carbon dioxide levels can reach lethal proportions in eight to 10 hours. Death under these circumstances is usually hastened by rising temperature and humidity in the confinement facility
Agitating manure that has been stored in a pit for several months can release dangerous quantities of noxious gases, even if the ventilation system is operating properly. The dangers during agitation are release of the highly toxic gas hydrogen sulfide and release of carbon dioxide in quantities sufficient to deplete the oxygen supply
Entering a manure storage pit can be potentially lethal for humans. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are heavier than air and tend to collect at the manure surface. In pits equipped with a cover or manhole opening only, methane can accumulate, creating potentially explosive conditions. Persons should never enter a manure storage pit unless it has been ventilated to get rid of dangerous gases.


Remove manure from the building regularly. If manure is removed from a building before it begins to decompose, only small amounts of gases and odors are released.
Buildings equipped with pits should have venting portals between the manure level in the pit and the slats above the pit.
Maintain water level in manure pits to collect soluble gases.
Keep the ventilation system in top operating condition.
Provide for auxiliary power supply to operate the ventilation system in case of power failure.
Use extreme care when agitating a manure pit or starting the rotor of an oxidation ditch in which manure has collected for several days.
Hog manure begins to decompose almost immediately after being excreted. This microbial decomposition generally produces many noxious volatile compounds which in turn produce odors. The most common compounds are carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Carbon dioxide and methane are both odorless, but can be lethal in high concentration. There are other small amounts of volatile compounds which can also influence odor emissions. The amount and rate of gas released is determined by the following factors:
• The number and size of hogs
Check• Temperature of the manure
Type of feed
- In addition to adequate ventilation there are a number of chemical and biological compounds available for controlling odor in close confinement hog operations. These include:
Masking agents that override offensive odors.
Chemical counteractants that are designed to block the sensing of odors.
Odor absorption chemicals that change the odor-causing compounds.
Biological compounds can alter the decomposing process and prevent odorous compounds from being generated.
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