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Photo of Development of an ammonia and carbon dioxide sensor for pig buildings

Steve Dunkley

Head of Knowledge Exchange (Interim)

AHDB Pork KE

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Development of an ammonia and carbon dioxide sensor for pig buildings

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Research partner: Harper Adams University

Sponsor: AHDB Pork

Duration: 14 months

Aims and objectives: To collect and evaluate data for ammonia emission levels within pig sheds. This information is valuable for estimating the environmental impacts and is often required for permitting and planning applications.

The trial: The ammonia concentration in the inlet and exhaust air was measured on two sites, using the ammonia analyser developed by AHDB Pork in conjunction with other organisations. In addition, the number of pigs, weights, feed intake, protein content of diets, ventilation rates, external and internal temperature and relative humidity were also recorded, as per the internationally recognised VERA protocol standardisation.

Expected benefits: More accurately quantified ammonia emissions will assist producers in obtaining consents and permissions for new buildings and in making investment decisions.


Findings to date:

  • Initial analysis of data from the first farm (a straw flow based system) has been conducted and results will be available by summer 2017
  • The second machine is currently sampling on a fully-slatted unit, with the first two full sets of data being analysed and sent for external verification
  • Plans are in place to position a machine on another unit in spring 2017 in order to establish a factor for a part-slatted (low emission design) building and explore the effectiveness of some nutritional interventions on ammonia emissions from part-slatted buildings
  • Another unit will also have a machine installed to gather further data on fully-slatted housing and the effects of electronic particle ionisation (EPI)

Further information