AMES, Iowa - A new, two-year study of air emissions from two Midwest turkey production units will get underway in March 2007, funded by a $500,000 grant from the USDA's National Research Initiative on air quality.



Iowa State University is the lead institution on the project, which is a collaborative effort with the University of Minnesota.



Hongwei Xin, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, said progress has been made toward collecting baseline data on air emissions from U.S. animal feeding operations, especially for broilers, laying hens and swine.



"But until now, there hasn't been a federally funded project that systematically collects air emissions from U.S. turkey operations, even though turkey production plays an important part in U.S. poultry production," Xin said.



The project will continuously measure emissions of ammonia and particulate matter from two mechanically ventilated turkey barns for one year. The measurements will be done at a commercial facility in central Iowa that produces tom turkeys, and at a University of Minnesota research farm near Rosemont, Minn., that produces hen turkeys.



At the Iowa site, part of an existing barn with mostly natural ventilation will be modified into a mechanically ventilated facility. At the Minnesota site, the mechanical ventilation system of the "grower" section will be increased to handle turkeys through market weight.



Xin said both site modifications will provide more precise airflow measurements and quantification of the emissions. The naturally ventilated portion of the barns will be used to set the ventilation rate for the monitored sections.



The project also will monitor the indoor air quality at several locations in the naturally ventilated section. State-of-the-art mobile air emissions monitoring labs developed by Iowa State University scientists will be used.



Other members of the project team include Robert Burns, associate professor; Jay Harmon, professor; Steve Hoff, professor; and Jacek Koziel, assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State; and Larry Jacobson, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; and Sally Noll, professor of animal science; at the University of Minnesota.



The project also involves industry leaders representing the Iowa Turkey Federation and the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. This multidisciplinary team has a combined expertise in air quality, animal housing and environmental control, poultry nutrition and turkey production.



Xin said this project will help establish an objective and urgently needed database of ammonia and particulate matter emission factors for commercial turkey operations typical of the U.S. turkey industry.



"Ultimately, this study will contribute to the advancement of basic science and inventory on air emissions from turkey production facilities and impact the U.S. turkey and agricultural industry by helping sustain its competitiveness and prosperity in the global economy," he said.



SOURCE: Iowa State University news release.