Deep-Pit Manure Foaming

Foam production in deep-pit manure storages is a growing concern for the U.S. swine industry. Incidents of barn explosions and flash fires have increased recently as a consequence of foam production in these storages, which traps methane and allows accumulation to dangerous levels.

One hypothesis is that the foam production is occurring as a consequence of the presence or activity of one or more bacterial populations, or from a by-product of bacterial populations present in the deep-pits. However, few studies have analyzed these microbial community populations in deep-pit swine manure storages. Even fewer studies have specifically examined differences in these communities in foaming and non-foaming deep-pit manure storages, or changes in microbial communities over time as a deep-pit transitions from a non-foaming to a foaming state. 

Thus, there is an urgent need to identify factors involved with deep-pit foaming. Failure to identify causes of foaming in deep-pit manure storages will limit our ability to design prevention and mitigation strategies that will prevent loss of property or life.


Grant Information

Microbial community analysis to identify risk factors in manure foaming. National Pork Board 11-039. R. S. Gates, A. Kent, T. Funk, L. M. Pepple. 2011-2012.  

Microbial Ecology Evaluation of Foam Production in Swine Deep-pit Manure Storages. Iowa Pork Producers Association. R. S. Gates, A. Kent, L. M. Pepple. 2012-2015.


Paper Citations

Pepple, L.M., R. S. Gates, A.D. Kent. 2013. Microbial community analysis of manure stored in deep-pits with and without foam production at USA swine farms. XLII Congresso Brasiliero de Engenharia Agricola - CONBEA 2013. Fortaleza, CE, Brazil. August 4-8, 2013.

Turner, G., L.M. Pepple, T.L. Funk, R.S. Gates. 2013. Evaluation of a Mechanical Foam Mitigation Device in Swine Deep-pit Manure Storage. Paper number 131595267, ASABE Annual International Meeting 2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013.  

Pepple, L.M., R. S. Gates, T. L. Funk, A. D. Kent. 2012. Microbial community analysis on liquid swine manure for foaming and non-foaming deep-pits. Proc. Of International Congress of Agricultural Engineering Conference. Valencia, Spain. July 8-12, Paper Number # C1353