An air quality laboratory has been constructed at Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatchewan, Canada to understand the sources of air contamination in livestock buildings.

This study separates the factors — feed, manure and the animal themselves — and attempts to obtain zero effect of each factor on air quality.

Once the effect of each factor is reduced to zero, the factors can be studied individually to assess their effect on air quality.

The laboratory is comprised of two rooms. Each room is lined with stainless steel to reduce absorption of contaminants by the room surface.

Manure Handling Focus

The first study focuses on two methods of manure removal. One room features a washing gutter that uses nozzles and pressurized water to clean the dunging area. The second room has a washed, inclined conveyor belt.

Testing of the manure handling systems will focus on three frequencies of cleaning the dunging areas, every half hour, every hour and every two hours.

Groups of 10, 66-lb., female pigs will be housed in each room. Data will be collected for one week in each trial. Three trials will be run at each cleaning frequency for a total of nine trials in each room.

Ammonia levels will be used to measure the effectiveness of the manure handling systems, and will be measured at the inlet and outlet of each room during the one-week trial.

Following completion of the testing of the manure handling systems, contamination from the pig and the feed will be tested in a second study.

Ultimately, the effects of the various air contaminants on both pigs and people will be studied.

Researcher: Karen Stewart, Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada. Contact Stewart by phone (306) 373-9922 or fax (306) 955-2510.