Manure Manager

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Breath of fresh air for hog and dairy farms


March 26, 2008
By Manure Manager

Livestock facilities may soon be taking a cue from human hygiene.

Livestock facilities may soon be taking a cue from human hygiene. An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has found that aluminum chloride—a common ingredient in deodorant sticks—helps minimize the nose-prickling vapors that tend to concentrate in and around swine and dairy facilities.

The compound, as soil scientist Philip A Moore, Jr, discovered, can also significantly slash troubling ammonia emissions that are typically generated when hundreds of farm animals are raised under one roof.

In response to concerns about phosphorus pollution and chicken houses, Moore first discovered the power of aluminum, in the form of aluminum sulfate (or alum), in 1992. Alum grabs onto the phosphate in poultry waste, keeping it from escaping into waterways. It also reduces the build-up of ammonia gas in chicken houses. Because of Moore’s research, almost 700 million chickens are raised each year in the United States using alum.

More recently, the researcher found an even better aluminum performer for treating the liquid manure associated with pigs and dairy cows: aluminum chloride. Unlike alum, this compound doesn’t generate odorous, sulfuric gases when applied to liquid waste. And aluminum chloride can impressively—and cost-effectively—reduce phosphorus run-off and atmospheric ammonia levels in animal facilities.


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