Controlling Farmstead Odors

I grew up down the road from a hog farm. When the wind was out of the south, my dad would say, “smells like they’re making money today.” Farms with livestock stink, that’s the reality of it. But there are things you can do to cut down on the manure odors wafting into your neighbor’s noses.

Doug Hamilton is an Extension waste management specialist at Oklahoma State University. He says more than anything else, proper manure storage and general cleanliness will help keep the odors down.

"So, one thing I tell people is to clean those pits frequently, at least once a week, and also keep their buildings clean. In a sense, it would be not allowing the bacteria to grow," he says. "Like your slats in your hog building, if they’re covered with manure, the smells are going to leave the building."

Trap and hold offensive smells with physical or chemical filters, properly-operated lagoons, or even composting.

Living in an area with strong breezes will often dilute the odors that blow from your barn before they reach the neighbor’s. Strategic plantings can also help.

"If you could plant trees or something to make a little rougher area right before the wind gets to your buildings, that’s going to help you a little bit," says Hamilton. "Cause some turbulence in the air, and allows the smells to mix with the non-smelly air. That works most of the time, of course the wind doesn’t always blow."

On calm nights and early mornings, farmstead odors are carried to low spots in the landscape because the odorants that cause the smell are heavier than air. Hopefully your barns aren’t uphill from the neighbors.

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