The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a three-year study to determine the air quality outside livestock buildings.

“The objective of the study is to quantify what we're calling the ‘DOG’ emissions — dust, odor and gases,” says Yuanhui Zhang, University of Illinois agricultural engineer. He points out that livestock buildings aren't currently regulated, but that exemption won't last long. To head off regulations, guidelines must be developed, he says.

The study will produce a large database to make writing emission standards more practical. Mobile laboratories will collect data at selected sites for 15 months.

Researchers will measure dust, odor and gases at several spots inside livestock buildings. Flow rates of fans will also be recorded. Combined data will give emission levels, says Zhang.

Participating schools include Iowa State University, Purdue University, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota.