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Livestock Odour Dispersion as Affected by Natural Windbreaks


Natural windbreaks have been planted around livestock shelters to improve odour dispersion without substantial knowledge of their best implementation practices. Using three groups of four trained panellists and an odour generator, the objective of the present research was to measure and compare the length of odour plumes (LOP) produced in the field in the absence of, and in the presence of four natural windbreaks exposed to various climatic conditions. During 39 mornings in August, September and December 2003, panellists observed the resulting odour plumes using hedonic tone (HT) as scale and in the afternoon, evaluated the odour concentration (OC) of the odorous air sampled at the generator. By correlating HT with to their corresponding OC, filed HT values were converted into OC units, and 2 OU m−3 contours were used to establish LOP. A multiple factor analysis verified the effect significance on LOP of the presence of a windbreak, of windbreak properties and of climatic conditions. While being diluted, OC decreased exponentially with HT as observed by panellists (P < 0.05). Secondly, the windbreaks significantly reduced LOP by 22% as compared to the site without a windbreak. Thirdly, the denser windbreaks had a greater impact on reducing LOP. The LOP of windbreaks with an optical porosity of 0.55 was not significantly different compared to that created in the absence of a windbreak. The wind speed, direction and ambient temperature had a strong influence on LOP while atmospheric stability, windbreak position downwind from the odour source within 60 m and odour emission rate had little impact, based on the analysis of 36 field tests in the presence of a windbreak.

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The authors wish to acknowledge the financial contribution of Consumaj inc., CDAQ, The Livestock Initiative Program, Agriculture and Agro-Food Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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Correspondence to S. Barrington.

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Lin, X., Barrington, S., Nicell, J. et al. Livestock Odour Dispersion as Affected by Natural Windbreaks. Water Air Soil Pollut 182, 263–273 (2007).

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  • windbreak
  • porosity
  • odour dispersion
  • hedonic tone
  • climatic conditions