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Odor Reduction from Natural Windbreaks

Determining Shelterbelt Effectiveness to Reduce Odor from Livestock Housing Facilities

Dick Nicolai, Associate Professor
Steve Pohl, Professor
Ryan Lefers, Graduate Research Assistant
Sriramulu Pasikanti, Electronics Coordinator

Funding Source

South Dakota Pork Producers Association


The purpose of the study was to determine odor reduction effectiveness for shelterbelts and develop an odor control factor for natural windbreaks to be used in the South Dakota Odor Footprint model. 

Need or Impact

Livestock and poultry odors and airborne emissions are a concern in many communities throughout South Dakota. Odors from livestock facilities can be reduced by diluting and/or enhancing the dispersion of the odorous gases leaving the livestock site. Rows of trees and other vegetation known as shelterbelts may have value as odor control devices by increasing odor dispersion. Shelterbelts are vegetation systems that typically use trees and shrubs to redirect wind and reduce wind speeds, thereby modifying environmental conditions within the upwind and downwind sheltered zones. Livestock producers and local government units are seeking information on the effectiveness of shelterbelts to reduce odors and gas emissions.

Project Status

Completed and Final report is Natural Windbreak Effect on Livestock Hydrogen Sulfide Reduction.

Project Results

For all wind speeds, a mature windbreak reduces H2S concentration levels at all wind speeds an average of 85 percent at a point approximately 100 feet beyond the windbreak. When average for all wind speeds, an immature windbreak, i.e. trees 10 to 115 feet tall, did not statistically significantly reduce H2S concentration levels. 

At very slow wind speeds (0 to 5 mph) both immature and mature windbreaks reduced H2S concentration levels. Above ten mph wind speeds, the H2S concentration levels were not significantly different between no windbreak, an immature windbreak and a mature windbreak i.e. whether the windbreak was in place or not there was no change in hydrogen sulfide reduction.