Enhancing indoor air quality in dairy farms via automatic air monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2024: $29,748.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Colorado State University
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Colorado State University


  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, housing, manure management
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis

    Proposal abstract:

    The development of the US dairy industry has shifted towards
    highly specialized barn-based farming practices demanding
    meticulous consideration of optimal air quality as animals,
    humans, and machinery converge in enclosed spaces. Our project
    addresses the pressing concern for enhancing environmental
    conditions in milking parlors and barns and reducing exposure to
    air pollutants. We aim to reveal air component fluctuations in
    confined spaces and explore the relationships between air
    component dynamics and distinct farm operations. To achieve this
    aim, we will strategically install automated air monitoring
    sensors in commercial dairy farms. Our previous analyses indicate
    higher volumes of particulate matter 2.5 and carbon dioxide in
    the milking parlor (11.3 µg/m³; 540.2 ppm, respectively) compared
    with cross-ventilated barns (3.9 µg/m³ and 519.3 ppm,
    respectively). In addition, we have identified that different
    farm activities such as feeding, cleaning, and changing bedding
    materials impact air component concentrations. These initial
    findings have heightened our interest in expanding our knowledge
    about other air pollutants in different dairy farming systems.
    Our goal is to gain deeper insights into the intricate dynamics
    of these air pollutants and to target management practices that
    can be intervened. Additionally, we aim to determine the optimal
    allocations of air quality sensors, ensuring accurate and
    representative measurements. Results communication to
    stakeholders will be a key component of our project, involving
    publications, workshops, and industry collaborations. In
    parallel, our comprehensive educational initiatives, including
    bilingual educational materials and scholarly outputs, aim to
    elevate awareness and expertise among dairy producers, workers,
    and industry professionals.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Research objectives:
    Objective 1: To determine the accuracy and precision of automated
    air quality monitoring systems and their appropriate localization
    in naturally and cross-ventilated cow housing barns and milking
    Objective 2: To identify the dynamics of air components and group
    scale emissions in indoor dairy spaces associated with dairy farm
    Objective 3: To design and implement practical mitigation
    strategies for improving air quality in naturally and
    cross-ventilated cow housing barns and milking parlors.
    Educational Objectives:
    Objective 4: To assess the increase of awareness among dairy
    producers and workers about the impact of air quality on cow
    health and productivity.
    Objective 5: To elevate the expertise of dairy industry
    professionals in implementing effective air quality management
    strategies and facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices
    among producers through direct engagement and communication of
    project findings.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.