A two-year, pork checkoff-funded research study showed that a geotextile lagoon cover reduced odor emissions by an average of 45%.

A geotextile cover is a non-woven, permeable material made of chemical compounds such as polypropylene. A pork producers' environmental committee selected the BioCap cover from Baumgartner Environics, Inc., Olivia, MN, for study (800-823-4234, biocap@bei-ec.com, www.bei-ec.com.)

Hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and volatile organic compounds were measured in 2000 and 2001 at three pairs of farms in southwest Minnesota that were similar in production capacity, nutrition and manure storage surface area.

In the study, the largest reductions of hydrogen sulfide were in the first year. In the second year, the cover showed a significant drop-off in reducing odor levels.

A geotextile cover costs several thousand dollars, with additional fees for disposal, reports John Kellogg, National Pork Board environment committee chair.

“Over time, this method could be as cost-effective as other methods to control odors,” says the Yorkville, IL, pork producer.