Odour, Dust and Non-methane Volatile Organic-Compound Emissions from Tunnel-ventilated Layer Chicken Sheds

This Australian study on two egg farms shows that odour emission rates vary with the amount of manure accumulation on the manure belts as well as diurnal and seasonal changes in ventilation rate, while dust emissions increased only with ventilation rate. Concentrations of volatile compounds varied by location, season and day of sampling.
calendar icon 23 June 2014
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An observational study was undertaken to measure odour and dust (PM10 and PM2.5) emission rates and identify non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) and odorants in the exhaust air from two tunnel-ventilated layer-chicken sheds that were configured with multi-tiered cages and manure belts.

Mark Dunlop of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in Toowoomba, Queensland and co-authors there and at the University of New South Wales and Queensland University of Technology reported their findings in the journal, Animal Production Science.

The study sites were located in south-eastern Queensland and the West Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. Samples were collected in summer and winter on sequential days across the manure-belt cleaning cycle.

Odour emissions ranged from 58 to 512ou per second per 1,000 birds (0.03 to 0.27ou per second and kg) and dust emission rates ranged from 0.014 to 0.184mg per second per 1,000 birds for PM10 and from 0.001 to 0.190mg per second per 1,000 birds for PM2.5.

Twenty NMVOCs were identified, including three that were also identified as odorants using thermal desorption, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and olfactometry analysis.

Odour emission rates were observed to vary with the amount of manure accumulation on the manure belts, being lowest two to four days after removing manure. Odour emission rates were also observed to vary with diurnal and seasonal changes in ventilation rate.

Dust emissions were observed to increase with ventilation rate but not with manure accumulation.

Some NMVOCs were identified at both farms and in different seasons whereas others were observed only at one farm or in one season, indicating that odorant composition was influenced by farm-specific practices and season, concluded Dunlop and co-authors.


Dunlop M., Z. D. Ristovski, E. Gallagher, G. Parcsi, R.L. Modini, V. Agranovski and R.M. Stuetz. 2013. Odour, dust and non-methane volatile organic-compound emissions from tunnel-ventilated layer-chicken sheds: a case study of two farms. Animal Production Science. 53:1309-1318.

Further Reading

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June 2014

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