Field olfactometry assessment of dairy manure land application methods

J Environ Qual. 2011 Mar-Apr;40(2):431-7. doi: 10.2134/jeq2010.0094.


Surface application of manure in reduced tillage systems generates nuisance odors, but their management is hindered by a lack of standardized field quantification methods. An investigation was undertaken to evaluate odor emissions associated with various technologies that incorporate manure with minimal soil disturbance. Dairy manure slurry was applied by five methods in a 3.5-m swath to grassland in 61-m-inside-diameter rings. Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer (NRO) instruments were used to collect dilutions-to-threshold (D/T) observations from the center of each ring using a panel of four odor assessors taking four readings each over a 10-min period. The Best Estimate Threshold D/T (BET10) was calculated for each application method and an untreated control based on preapplication and <1 h, 2 to 4 h, and approximately 24 h after spreading. Whole-air samples were simultaneously collected for laboratory dynamic olfactometer evaluation using the triangular forced-choice (TFC) method. The BET10 of NRO data composited for all measurement times showed D/T decreased in the following order (a = 0.05): surface broadcast > aeration infiltration > surface + chisel incorporation > direct ground injection Sshallow disk injection > control, which closely followed laboratory TFC odor panel results (r = 0.83). At 24 h, odor reduction benefits relative to broadcasting persisted for all methods except aeration infiltration, and odors associated with direct ground injection were not different from the untreated control. Shallow disk injection provided substantial odor reduction with familiar toolbar equipment that is well adapted to regional soil conditions and conservation tillage operations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Manure*
  • Odorants*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Manure