Most of you want to reduce odors from your pork operation, but it takes a lot of time and a strong commitment. In the long run, it's worth the effort, says Wendy Powers, Iowa State University animal scientist. One key is to reduce the amount of material that must be anaerobically degraded.

"By favorably changing manure composition, the potential exists to improve the odor of stored manure," she notes. Here are five ways Powers says that you can minimize odor development before manure is excreted.

1. Feed a balanced diet. Proteins often are associated with manure odor intensity, so using amino acids to offset some dietary protein may help. Another option is to balance dietary carbohydrates with protein.

2. Group pigs according to nutrient requirements. This reduces the gap between different nutrient requirements and lets you formulate diets to more closely meet pigs' needs.

3. Use specific feed ingredients. Studies are underway to determine the effect of various feed additives on manure odors. Some work has shown that less offensive odor developed when peppermint oil was added to the diet.

An Iowa State study on the effects of adding blood meal to nursery diets indicates a trend of increasing odor intensity as dietary blood meal levels increase.

4. Consider mineral and water sources. You must consider mineral and water impact on total dietary sulfur, which itself is odorous. Depending on the geographic location and source, water supplies might also contain a fair amount of sulfur.

5. Keep feed fresh. Offering a supply of fresh feed and immediately disposing of feed waste also helps control odors. Wet feed will begin to ferment and produce odor similarly to stored manure. By keeping feeding areas clean, you can reduce odors and potentially improve feed intake.

Powers anticipates that recommendations for feed and mineral selection to reduce odors will be available in the future. She also notes there's a good chance that byproduct processing techniques will eventually be refined to produce feeds with less odor development potential.