The effect of two ammonia-emission-reducing pig housing systems on odour emission

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Odour nuisance from agricultural activities is increasing in densely populated countries like the Netherlands. To develop adequate regulations, a large-scale, government-financed monitoring programme was started in the mid-1990s to establish odour emission levels for both conventional and low ammonia emission housing systems for cattle, pigs and poultry. The results indicate that high- and low-odour emission housing are difficult to distinguish because of the large variation within housing systems. Measurements on different farm locations within the same housing system show both a large variation between locations and within one location (in time). The latter, however, is significantly smaller, which suggests that farm management is an important determinant in odour emission that interferes with the effects of housing systems. The current research was aimed at determining the effect of two common ammonia-reducing pig-housing systems on odour emissions compared to conventional housing systems under similar management conditions. The respective reduction principles of these systems are reducing the emitting surface of the manure pit and cooling of manure in the manure pit (both pits beneath slatted floor). Five farms that combined conventional housing with one low-ammonia system (three reduced emitting surface and two manure cooling) were selected for a direct, pair-wise comparison of (olfactometric) odour emission measurements. The results show a highly significant effect (p <0.01) for two of the three reduced emitting surface systems and for one of the two manure cooling system. The average odour reduction percentages of these systems are 35% (from 24.9 to 16.0 OUE/s per animal) and 23% (from 30.1 to 24.0 OUE/s per animal) respectively. Although odour emission reduction through the type of housing system is possible, management factors interact with the system and thereby determine whether the system reduces odour emission or not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-340
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number4.
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Housing system
  • Management
  • Odour emission
  • Odour reduction
  • Olfactometry


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