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How Airborne Contaminants Affect Agriculture Facilities

By September 25, 2018 June 24th, 2019 No Comments

The Value of a High Efficiency Air Filtration System in Agriculture Facilities

More agricultural producers are recognizing the value of a reliable high efficiency air filtration system as one of the best solutions to prevent contamination of crops, livestock, or food products caused by air pollution. These systems not only ensure consistent and superior product quality, but they also protect animals and agricultural workers from exposure to on-the-job respiratory hazards and prevent corrosion on process equipment.

“The most important part of indoor air quality is the cleanliness of the air,” said Kevin Wood, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Camfil USA. “Air contamination consists of particles, gases and vapors that reduce the well-being and health of humans and decrease the output and efficiency of production processes,” he added. (1)

Once you have created a sealed environment to prevent cross-contamination, we can then proceed to the crucial step of providing a proper air filtration system to maintain the integrity of your indoor air quality (IAQ).

Why Use Commercial Air Filtration Systems in Agriculture Facilities?

At Camfil USA, we have installed a variety of commercial air filtration systems in all kinds of agriculture facilities. The air inside places like greenhouses, grow rooms, livestock farms (e.g. poultry, cows, and pigs among others), and mills tend to contain:

  • Pollen and mold spores
  • Milling dust
  • Bacteria
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in the processing of raw materials
  • Fumigants
  • Odor-causing compounds

And that’s just the air inside your standard agriculture facility. You also need to consider the air pollution from the outside.

“With outdoor air carrying as much as 200 to 1,500 bacteria per cubic meter, an air-conditioning system with a capacity of 10,000 m3/h may bring in as much as 2 to 15 million bacteria every hour, causing contamination issues,” said Wood. “Efficient air filtration is a must-have solution.” (2)

Issues Addressed by a High-Quality Commercial Air Filtration Solution

In agriculture facilities, a commercial air filtration system does more than just provide “good indoor air quality”—although that is its main purpose. A proper filtration and ventilation solution specifically designed for agricultural applications addresses these issues:

  • Infection Outbreak – Livestock facilities are prone to infection outbreaks caused by fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Our high efficiency air filters handle the job of constantly purifying indoor and outdoor air in ventilation shafts to prevent infection and cross-contamination.
  • Unpleasant Odors – Milling and livestock facilities tend to produce undesirable odors that disrupt the quality of life for your personnel and residents surrounding the area.
  • Government Regulations – Emissions legislation is perhaps the most important reason for agriculture facilities to address their indoor air quality problems. You need an air quality control system that ensures you will meet your state’s particulate concentration limits, which will vary depending on your industry.
  • Health and Safety – Air filtration systems are designed to control dust levels in agricultural production facilities. Dust-laden floors pose health and safety hazards to workers, making them prone to injuries as well as respiratory problems like asthma and allergic reactions. Food dusts from flour, sugar, and cornstarch are also highly combustible, increasing the risk of a combustible dust explosion.

Using High Efficiency Air Filtration and Ventilation Systems in Horticulture Facilities

Many indoor horticulturists are all too familiar with the challenge of maintaining proper indoor air quality, which often requires the installation of a reliable high efficiency air filtration and ventilation system. Still, IAQ is one of the most overlooked elements of indoor farming, usually addressed only when growers can see signs of significant damage on their crops.

Air pollution injury on agriculture crops can manifest itself in a variety of ways:

  • Markings on foliage that rapidly appear as dead tissue
  • Slow yellowing of the leaves that signify a steady decline in air quality
  • Stunted growth in multiple parts of the plant
  • Premature death of the plant, which usually happens after recurring injury or prolonged exposure to pollutants

The development and seriousness of the crop injury may be further compounded by a host of other factors, including the length of exposure to the air pollutants, the plant species in question, and the crop’s stage of development.

Bottom line? Whether you have a greenhouse or a grow room of some kind, it’s a good idea to install an air filtration system.

Benefits of High Efficiency Air Filters for Livestock Facilities

High efficiency air filters play a vital role in supporting air circulation, ventilation, and cooling of livestock.

  • Animals need fresh, clean air and optimal climate control to stay healthy and achieve their maximum production potential.
  • Proper air circulation in buildings where your animals are housed prevents heat stress, a major factor in production loss. It also prevents the buildup of moisture, manure fumes, bacteria, viruses, and dust, all of which can be dangerous to the health of livestock.
  • Proper ventilation also ensures the proper performance of your process equipment as well as the comfort and safety of your agricultural workers.

High efficiency gaseous removal air filters are especially effective at capturing ammonia fumes, a natural by-product of livestock waste. Agricultural producers are under constant pressure to meet ammonia emissions standards—a feat that is easier said than done, especially when producers need to increase their livestock production. A high-quality gaseous adsorber air filter can easily put these concerns to rest.

High efficiency air filter systems also play a crucial role in combating common livestock diseases. The porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, for example, affects respiration in young pigs and reproduction in breeding livestock. The virus is spread through nasal secretion, urine, feces, and saliva, and is responsible for productivity losses in the U.S. swine industry of up to $580 million a year. (3)

What to Remember When Using Agriculture Solutions from High Efficiency Air Filter Manufacturers

Ventilation systems are designed to remove stale air from an agriculture facility and bring in fresh air from the outside. Your average ventilation system, however, may not protect an agricultural producer’s crops or animals from poor air quality. This protection is where high efficiency air filter manufacturers play a part.

High efficiency air filtration systems serve two critical functions in any agricultural production facility:

  • Protection against outdoor air pollution – Air filters prevent the accumulation of outdoor air pollutants in your agricultural production facilities and keep them from reacting with indoor air contaminants
  • Removal of indoor air contaminants – Air filters capture outdoor contaminants that enter your agricultural facility and remove chemical emissions from livestock, pesticides, herbicides, and disinfectants, as well as pollen, allergens, and equipment offgassing.

When it comes to high efficiency filters, never go cheap. Air filtration, when applied to the growing and refining of crops, or the raising of livestock, plays a fundamental role in maintaining production levels and keeping your employees safe and healthy. High efficiency air filters in these facilities must be able to handle large volumes of air that contain various sizes of particulate matter for removal. In other words, you need an air filtration system from a reliable brand.

At Camfil USA, we are committed to helping our clients, no matter what industry they are in, to improve the safety and air quality of their facilities. To learn more about the benefits of commercial air filters for the agriculture industry, click here.

Media Contact:

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

T: 888.599.6620

E:Lynne.Laake@camfil.com

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Sources:

  1. http://cehtp.org/faq/air/what_are_air_contaminants
  2. https://www.microbe.net/2015/04/15/total-concentrations-of-virus-and-bacteria-in-indoor-and-outdoor-air/
  3. https://pighealthtoday.com/adequate-gilt-acclimation-helps-minimize-the-prrsv-tax/