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Windbreak Wall-Vegetative Strip System to Reduce Air Emissions from Mechanically Ventilated Livestock Barns—Part 3: Layer House Evaluation


Poultry houses emit large amounts of pollutants, e.g., ammonia and particulate matter (PM), that can affect public health, environment, and quality-of-life, due to odor. Poultry producers need low-cost and low-pressure treatments that can be compatible with existing ventilation systems. The porous windbreak wall coupled with a vegetative strip seems promising as it dissipates exhaust gases and traps PM (as well as adsorbed gases) on the screen, soil surface, as well as in the vegetation. Different windbreak wall-vegetative strip system designs were evaluated to treat the exhaust from 0.9-m fans in two types of layer house, for their abilities to reduce pollutant and odor emissions. The porous chamfered-shape windbreak wall with a footprint length of 3 fan diameters proved the most effective in reducing emissions. Even with a low system pressure of ~ 5 Pa, it greatly reduced odor, by 79% at 10 m and 59% at 5 m. It reduced TSP emissions moderately, by an average of 41%, while ammonia emissions were reduced slightly (by 21%). The chamfered screen was more readily cleaned by rainfall given the sticky nature of poultry house exhaust than the vertical screen. Overall, this low-cost, retrofittable, and modular system with a small footprint could be used by layer producers and, probably, by other poultry producers to reduce their emissions, alone or in combination with other mitigation methods to obtain greater reduction in emissions.

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The authors are grateful to NCDA&CS Piedmont Research Station and their crew including Teresa Herman, Kelly Brannan, Aphon Vue, Ty Marshal, and Albert Wilson for making available the research site and providing support. The BAE Environmental Analysis Lab (Dr. Cong Tu, supervisor) performed all of the chemical analyses. Dr. Marc Deshusses (Duke University) provided valuable suggestions to improve the methodology. Other BAE and NCSU personnel, namely, Phil Harris, Michael Adcock, Labin T. Woodlief, Neil Bain, and Kyle Bostian, provided much needed help and, finally, former BAE students also provided help to the project including Steven Turnage, Li Yu, and Adib Najafian.


This research was funded by US Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (award no. 69-3A75-14-250).

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Correspondence to Sanjay B. Shah.

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Ajami, A., Shah, S.B., Wang-Li, L. et al. Windbreak Wall-Vegetative Strip System to Reduce Air Emissions from Mechanically Ventilated Livestock Barns—Part 3: Layer House Evaluation. Water Air Soil Pollut 230, 290 (2019).

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  • TSP
  • Odor
  • Ammonia
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Porous windbreak wall
  • Switchgrass