December 29th, 2003

AMES, Iowa — Researchers at Iowa State University have received a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant totaling $440,000 to study the use of trees, shrubs and other perennial plants as buffers to reduce odors around poultry and egg production facilities. The three-year grant also includes the University of Delaware and Pennsylvania State University.

"There is anecdotal evidence that shelter belts and vegetative buffers reduce odors when placed around poultry facilities. This will be the first comprehensive public study to look at how much benefit these buffers can provide," said John Tyndall, post-doctoral research associate in Iowa State's natural resource ecology and management department.

The study will include both field and laboratory studies and computer modeling to investigate the location and cost-effectiveness of buffers as well as the types of trees and plants that should be used. Joe Colletti, associate professor of natural resource ecology and management, said the study results will provide practical, science-based information to both large and small poultry producers.

"This is a more natural way to solve a problem," Colletti said. "We don't see this as the only solution but it will add to the suite of choices producers have to reduce odor."

This new project is an extension of an interdisciplinary USDA National Research Initiative funded program headed by Colletti and Tyndall and other researchers in the department. The researchers have been examining the bio-physical and socio-economic efficacy of vegetative environmental buffers in alleviating swine odor.

Colletti said the project has received positive feedback from individual poultry producers as well as the Iowa Poultry Association and the Iowa Egg Council. Researchers are planning for spring plantings of the vegetative buffers at two sites in Iowa and six locations in both Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Gene Takle and Ray Arritt, professors of agronomy and agriculture meteorology; Steve Hoff, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; and Jan Thompson, assistant professor of forest biology and urban forestry are co- investigators with Colletti and Tyndall, along with researchers from Pennsylvania and Delaware.


Joe Colletti, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, (515) 294-4912,

Barbara McManus, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707,