Agricultural Process Control

Every aspect of agricultural production can benefit from immediate knowledge of chemical and biological conditions in the production environment.

For example, continuous optimization of ammonia levels in animal feeding operations (especially poultry grow-out houses) can increase processing yield and feed efficiency, reduce animal stress and disease, and improve size uniformity. Mortality and the chances of epidemic disease go up as ammonia increases, and valuable parts of the bird, like the breast and feet, are damaged by high levels of ammonia. Even short exposures to high ammonia levels can harm animals. Experts estimate that better control of ammonia can bring a five to seven percent productivity improvement to the $100 billion (worldwide) broiler industry.

Currently, growers typically “monitor” ammonia by taking occasional measurements using disposable tubes or other portable instruments, by trying to “smell” ammonia levels, and/or by tracking in-house humidity. Ventilation regimens set using these approaches often become ineffective, particularly at nighttime. The application of litter treatment does not offer complete control of ammonia. The effects of litter treatment are temporary, and performance can vary widely depending on house conditions, which can quickly change or be difficult to determine. Humidity levels are, at best, only a loose proxy for ammonia, and are often completely unrelated.

Lumense’s ammonia sensor, the LE100, can help growers automatically and continuously optimize ventilation, increasing bird performance and reducing feed cost. Product information is available upon request.

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