A team of Iowa State University Extension specialists have developed an online tool to help livestock and poultry producers compare odor mitigation techniques that could be useful on their farms. Air Management Practices Assessment Tool, AMPAT for short, is web-based and available at no charge.
New online tool evaluates options to reduce odors
"The website was developed to help livestock and poultry producers identify practices to reduce odors, and emissions of gases and dust on their farms caused by animal production," says Angie Rieck-Hinz, an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist and member of the project team. "The database lists options to be used from three core sources of odor and emissions in livestock and poultry operations—animal housing, manure storage and handling, and land application."
Other members of the project's team include Jay Harmon, Steven Hoff and Dan Andersen, professors of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State.
Helps producers compare odor mitigation techniques
Livestock and poultry producers can select a specific mitigation practice and learn more about its effectiveness in reducing odor and its relative cost. Rieck-Hinz says producers can use AMPAT in conjunction with the National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool to identify opportunities to make changes, find best practices for improving air quality and evaluate their effectiveness.
To evaluate practices on AMPAT, the producer can select from one of the three core odor source areas. Each category provides access to resources that are specific to a particular pollutant. Once a pollutant is selected, a variety of resources are listed. This list includes a research-based publication on the recommended practice, pros and cons of using the recommended practice and a short video. Additional information and related links also are provided.
Tool is user friendly, provides useful information
"Our goal was to develop a tool that is easy to use and provides relevant and useful information for livestock producers across the state," Harmon says. "AMPAT helps producers see which technologies have the highest impact. The scorecard is color-coded for quick reference."
The AMPAT website shows a color-coded listing of technologies to address pollutants. A green color indicates the selected technology has a high impact on that particular pollutant; yellow and red indicate medium and low impact, respectively. No color indicates there is insufficient data available to classify the effectiveness.
Identify effectiveness of odor management practices
"For example, if a producer was concerned about a potential odor problem from animal housing, he or she would scan down the list under the 'odor' column at the top," Harmon explains. From the list, the producer would find that 'Siting,' 'Scrubbers,' 'Urine/Feces Segregation' and 'Biofilters' have green bars, meaning they have high impact on odors. With that information, the producer could then investigate options for implementing those technologies and evaluate their selection based on relative cost or investigate all four options for their farm.
"It's not uncommon for producers to identify best practices and implement them in their livestock or poultry operation," he says. "They want to be good stewards and good neighbors and this tool helps them to achieve that goal." Development of the tool was completed by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach project team with major funding from the National Pork Board.