A team at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has developed an online tool that determines how long a manure pit needs to be ventilated before it’s safe to enter.
It’s software designed for use by barn contractors building manure pits.
On-farm manure storage poses a significant hazard to agricultural workers due primarily to the danger of toxic and asphyxiating gas buildup. Farmers and service personnel occasionally need to enter these pits to conduct repair and maintenance tasks.
An article by Jeff Mulhollem explains that airflow through the animal living space in the barn above a manure storage also can be simulated by the new tool, so it can be used to determine whether animals need to be evacuated from all or a portion of the barn during pit ventilation.
The design tool is available at https://ventdesign.agsafety.psu.edu/
The website offers instructions, tutorials, workshop videos and a user's manual.