Livestock and Dairy operations can produce very high levels of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. Nitrogen in food sources produces ammonia and hydrogen sulfide gases during digestion that is released into the air by livestock as the food passes through excretion. These gases cause an obvious unpleasant odor and can also lead to health problems and physical damage to animals, adversely affecting overall production.

Effects on Livestock Operations

Studies have shown that the most common effect of ammonia in livestock facilities is eye irritation, however, at higher concentrations (more than 20ppm) ammonia can have more serious effects, such as:

  • Decreased Birth and Wean Rates
  • Reduced Gain Rates – Pig gain rates can be reduced by 12% with ammonia exposure at 50ppm and by 30% with ammonia exposure at 100-150ppm.
  • Reduced Feed Efficiency
  • Lesions/Abscesses – Tracheal and nasal lesions in pigs have been reported with ammonia exposure at 100-150ppm.
  • Respiratory Diseases – Pigs and turkeys have exhibited a reduced ability to clear their lungs of bacteria with ammonia exposure at 50-70ppm.
  • Excessive Mucous Production – Turkeys with ammonia exposure as low as 10ppm showed unhealthy mucous production after just 7 weeks.
  • Increased Condemnation Rates – Even ammonia exposure at just 10-15ppm can reduce a pig’s resistance to infection, giving way to potentially life-threatening livestock illnesses.

Effects on the Community

  • Pungent Odours - Odours from livestock facilities can be a sore subject for rura
  • l communities because residents not connected to livestock operations are often bothered by odors that interfere with their daily activities.
  • Safety Risks – Hydrogen sulfide is produced when organic matter (such as animal waste) breaks down and is then released into the ground. This hydrogen sulfide can then contaminate drinking water, raising public health concerns.
  • Environmental Implications – We are regaularly hearing about the implications of livestock on the effect on our watersways and groundwater. 

EM uses beneficial microbes- creating an antioxidant effect to naturally break down and eliminate ammonia odour as well as decrease hydrogen sulfide putrefaction. EM can be used as a probiotic, effluent treatment, teat spray, and even applied directly to the animals themselves to keep skin and hides healthy. To read more, please visit our Animal Husbandry page.