Why Do Dairy Farms Smell?
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And yet, research in the Midwest and beyond has identified some notable differences between the odors farm animals produce. Because they largely originate in their waste, these odors depend in part on the animals’ diets and the bacterial menagerie native to their digestive systems. The olfactory impact of these odors also depends on the design of a barn and manure storage, and on a person’s proximity to the stinky action.
Many of our pen pals asked this question or similar questions like:
How do you handle the bad smells?
Or not even a question at all: “I could never live on a farm because they smell bad.”
So why do farms smell different than your house, or school, or even your city? Good question!
Our noses and brains have a way of getting “use-to” smells. You probably don’t smell anything when you enter your home. But if you visit a friend’s home you might notice that their home smells different. They may use different laundry detergent, cook different smelling foods, or even have different pets. Farms are the same. Soil, animal feed, plants, etc all smell different than your home. One smell that is extremely different than your home is animal poop.
It is simple biology. What goes in, must come out. Our cows eat about 100 pounds of food a day. That means that they will produce about 100 pounds of poop, or as we call it, manure. Let us just say YOU don’t smell like roses all the time either when it comes to this subject matter.
It May Not Smell Great, but Dust From Dairy Farms Could Have Health Benefits. Just smell that fresh dairy air. It’s a mixture of all the things that make a farm smell like a farm—throw in a little cow dander, the smell of fresh-cut grass and sun, and don’t forget the bacteria.
Animals eat, therefore they produce manure. Manure has an odour. Dairy farmers work hard to minimize these odours by maintaining clean facilities, following proper manure storage practices, and properly applying manure as a natural fertilizer for cropland.
In some cases, farms are required to implement an odour management plan. Research and development have inspired new practices and innovative technologies to help farmers maintain clean air for everyone. Dairy farmers care about air quality; their families live and work on their farms and breathe the air, too.