A new lab at Iowa State University has started trying to get to the bottom of a problem that’s created heated discussion and prompted lawsuits. The Animal Emission Laboratory is trying to figure out how to reduce gas emissions from animals in livestock facilities. Animal science professor Wendy Powers says they’re starting with pigs and focusing on their food. She says they’re trying to figure out how to change dietarily what’s being excreted from the animals so they can improve the smell excreted from the animals and the manure. She says they’re really just looking at nutrition from the back end, trying to make better use of the nutrients that go into the animal. She says they’re focusing on protein and its impact on pigs in their first study. Powers says it’s a serious issue. She says nationwide different states are interested in different compounds, but overall they’re interested in cutting odor. Powers says the effort is funded by the U-S-D-A and once they’re done with the pigs they’ll move on to other animals. She says when the pigs leave they’ll be market weight at the end of January. She says they’ll follow that up with laying chickens, and then five flocks of broiler chickens and then dairy cows. She says the facility is capable of handling all species including turkeys, growing cattle and horses. Powers says results of the work could lead to new dietary recommendations for livestock producers that will improve air quality both inside and outside of production buildings.
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