Odor and air quality remain complex issues with both a measurable component based on the presence of specific gases and upon individual sensitivity to humans. Researchers have found over 100 odorous compounds identified in livestock waste. Odorous gases can be produced at a number of sites around a livestock operation. The most common odor sources, however, are the floor and other surfaces of buildings and pens, the surfaces of animals, the manure collection and storage facilities, feed storage facilities, dead animal disposal and storage areas, and manure exposed to the air during land application. Each of these odor sources has received research attention, and technologies exist that can be employed in response to the issue.
The Pork Checkoff annually funds research to address odor and air quality and to evaluate new technologies that reduce odor and emissions from pork operations.
The Air Management Assessment Tool helps producers find the practices to address potential air emissions that are best suited to their operations and objectives. The online tool was developed by Iowa State University and is organized into four air emissions of interest: hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, dust and particulates and odor. For each of these emissions, sources are categorized by housing, manure storage or land application. A conservative estimate of the range of effectiveness and a relative cost is given for each mitigation practice.