Livestock and cattle 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 livestock 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 Odors - Odors from livestock facilities can be a sore subject for rural 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 – Global warming and volcanic eruptions are the leading cause of hydrogen sulfide accumulation worldwide, but livestock excretions are also contributing to rising levels of hydrogen sulfide. High levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause sickness and eventual death in humans, animals and plants. In fact, geoscientists have concluded that over 250 million years ago unusually high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and earth’s atmosphere led to the most wide-scale mass extinction in the earth’s history.
EM•1® Microbial Inoculant uses beneficial microbes- creating an antioxidant effect to naturally break down and eliminate ammonia odor as well as decrease hydrogen sulfide putrefaction. In fact, some poultry houses using EM•1® have eliminated ammonia gases entirely (with an average reported ammonia level of 5-6ppm after use). Due to increased production resulting from lower ammonia and hydrogen sulfide levels, livestock operations can generate profits up to three times higher than the cost of using EM•1®. EM•1® microbial inoculant solutions can be used for dairy cattle foot baths, manure treatment, to wash down milking parlors, sprayed on pastures, and even applied directly to the animals themselves to keep skin and hides healthy. To read more, please visit our livestock solutions page.