A tri-state team of researchers and university specialists will soon engage in a three-year study looking at gases emitted from mono-slope beef barns, looking at how building management impacts the emissions. The team is composed of researchers from the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC), Clay Center, NE; agricultural engineering specialists from South Dakota State University (SDSU), Brookings, SD; and extension program specialists from Iowa State University (ISU), Ames, IA.

One purpose of the study is to gather baseline data for the levels of gas emissions from mono-slope beef barns. The study will involve a total of four mono-slope beef barns in South Dakota and Iowa. “Currently, beef producers report estimated air emissions from their concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) based on data from open beef feedlots in the summer. These values may be too high for mono-slope beef barns. Data from this study will be useful in providing more accurate values for air emissions,” says Mindy Spiehs, animal scientist with USMARC.

The study will also evaluate two different manure-handling systems to determine which system emits lower levels of gases. One barn system contains a manure pack which remains in the barn until the cattle are removed. The other barn system involves the weekly removal and storage of manure from around the bedded pack until it can be field applied.

A third goal is to help beef producers learn how they can reduce the emissions from their mono-slope beef barns. “Producers are trying different things to increase animal comfort, some of which may impact air quality,” says Kris Kohl, ISU Extension agricultural engineer program specialist. The study will monitor the effects of season, diets and water consumption.

Funding for the research comes from a grant sponsored by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and is one of 11 projects across the United States that addresses air quality issues. For more information, contact Dick Nicolai at 605-688-5664, Dick.Nicolai@sdstate.edu, Spiehs at (402) 762-4271, Mindy.Spiehs@ARS.USDA.GOV, or Beth Doran, (712) 737-4230, doranb@iastate.edu. Learn more at www.extension.iastate.edu/.