Odour Emission of Livestock Units

Further information: Interessengemeinschaft Geruch igG

Odour is one of the major nuisance in the environment mainly caused by livestock units and industry. In the USA about 70% of all complaints on air quality regard to odour (Watts and Sweeten, 1995). For the UK (Skinner et al., 1997) in the year 1989 and 1990 there were 3700 complaints about odour from farms. This is about 25% of all complaints received by the Environmental Health Officers. More than half are caused by livestock buildings (building, slurry storage, feeding) the other half is caused by slurry spreading. For Thüringen, Germany Lotze and Schwinowski (1998) report for the year 1996 that 16% of all complaints are odour related, thereof 34% from agricultural sources. The complaints due to farms dominated with 89% over slurry spreading (1%).

To overcome such problems, a separation distance between the odour source and residential areas is used, to reduce the odour annoyance to a certain level. In the field of livestock farming two regulatory approaches are used. The first one is a an empirical assessment of a separation distance between residential houses and livestock buildings, which is a common objective of various guidelines of several countries (eg Austria (Schauberger et al., 1997; Schauberger and Piringer, 1997a and 1997b), The Netherlands (Ministrie van Landbouw, 1991), Germany (VDI 3471,1986; VDI 3472, 1986; VDI 3473, 1994), USA (Heber, 1997 and 1998) and Switzerland (Richner and Schmidlin, 1995)). In most cases the structure of the guide lines is very similar. First of all the odour source is assessed by the number of animals and additionally by some parameters which influence the odour release. On the basis of the odour source, the separation distance is calculated by using an empirical function, in many cases a power function (Piringer and Schauberger, 1999). In the last step this separation distance is modified by a reduction factor to adapt the separation distance to various land use categories, which are distinguished by different levels of claims for exemption from odour sensation.

The second regulatory approach are model calculations of the separation distance using dispersion models. Following information has to be available: odour release (Martinec et al., 1998; Schauberger et al., 1999), a dispersion model (eg the normative Gauss model used in  Austria, Kolb, 1981), calculation of the instantaneous odour concentration (Schauberger et al., 2000b) and validation of the instantaneous odour concentration taking into account the FIDO factors of odour sensation (frequency, intensity, duration and offensiveness) and reasonableness.

Empirical Guide Lines

Dispersion models


Conferences, Meeting, Workshops


Last modification: January 31, 2000 Webmaster