Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Sama

Abstract

Compost bedded pack barns are a relatively new type of dairy housing system that is being implemented in Kentucky. Extensive research has been done on the composting of animal manure, however, little has been done on composting animal manure in place. One of the most concerning challenges is aeration. Improper aeration can cause system failure. The ability to quickly and accurately measure the oxygen concentration would allow researchers the ability to determine which methods of tillage/aeration are most effective in compost bedded pack barns. The research in this thesis focused on the development of a method for simultaneously testing oxygen concentrations at different locations and depth in compost in-situ. A probe was developed that vertically aligned Apogee Instruments oxygen sensors (SO-120) in order to generate an oxygen profile of the compost. The probe was used to test the effect of different tillage/aeration strategies in a composted bedded pack barn. The results indicated the probe was effective at measuring the oxygen concentrations in active compost tested in laboratory conditions and it was determined that there was a significant difference in oxygen concentration with respect to depth. However, when applied in the compost bedded pack barn, large amounts of variation occurred randomly in the data, causing no difference to be detected as a result of varying tillage aeration treatments.

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